Citizens constructing gillnetter memorial
Doug Olsen and Greg Prestegard moved tiles in order to ready the ground on Saturday morning at the Elochoman Slough Marina for the first phase of the Commercial Fishermen Memorial, a foundation
A memorial to honor local fishermen is in the works.
Bud Lindwall was the catalyst for the project. When he passed away in January, it was suggested to Stephanie Olsen, who runs the local funeral home, that it might be better to recognize him on a memorial for commercial fishermen than to honor him with a memorial service.
Olsen, who has lived in this community since the 1970s, was pleased to facilitate the matter. She just wants to make it very clear that she can't run it through the funeral home.
"This whole fishing thing that is going on is just hard for everyone," she said. "A lot of people will want to be part of this. It's going to make a lot of people happy."
A notice about a meeting was placed in the newspaper, and the committee held their first meeting in January. After some discussion, along with conversations with the museum and with Jackie Lea, Wahkiakum County Port 1 manager, a location was selected.
"We wanted to make sure it was in a place where it would be seen," Olsen said.
Last Saturday, Olsen's husband Doug and Greg Prestegard began preparing the ground where the memorial will be located at the Elochoman Slough Marina.
"For a long time, there has been a desire for a tribute to the commercial fishermen in our area," Olsen said. "There is one in Astoria and another in Newport, Ore. I think people wanted one for our guys here. It's for anyone in our area that has fished on the Columbia or in Alaska. It's for the women who hung nets for years, for anyone that worked on boats, whether they owned them or not. It's for anyone that was involved in the industry."
So far the group has raised nearly $2,000. That will pay for a bronze plaque at the top that reads, "Dedicated to the loving memory of our fishermen," and another large bronze plaque below that will hold 50 small plaques containing the names and dates of people who worked in the industry.
Eventually, they hope to have three of the large plaques to sit side by side. Enough to hold 150 names each. If they need to, they will add more to the back of the memorial.
The large plaques cost $1,017 apiece.
The smaller plaques are 1x4. They will contain the names of loved ones in the industry and can be purchased for $125. A portion of the money from each of these will go towards the purchase of another large plaque. General donations will go towards the large plaques.
So far, 15 names have been ordered. Of the names so far, John Bozanich will be the oldest fishermen to be honored. He was born in 1888 and died in 1963.
A drawing shows the final design.
"I have a hunch our memorial could be full as soon as word gets out," Olsen said.
Chris Doumit is donating wood from the salmon cannery at Cathlamet for the memorial. He will also donate the tin roof, which will come from the cannery as well. His wife, Julie, who has a marvelous green thumb, is expected to plant flowers. Bud Lindwall's daughters donated the money for the foundation. Doug Olsen and Prestegard will build the memorial.
"It's just a marvelous thing," Olsen said about the donation. "I'm excited about it."
No date has been set, but eventually there will be a dedication.
Donations for the memorial must be made to Olsen Markers. If you have any questions, contact Stephanie Olsen at 360-957-1576.