Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


Bob Burkhalter when he won the Scholastic Sportsman of the Year Award. Photo courtesy of the Burkhalter family.

Photo of the Week: Bob Burkhalter is seen with a banner when he won his Scholastic Sportsmanship Award. Look at that smile. It's been one of the best smiles in Grays River for many years. Bob is well known to older folks who attended the Rosburg Grade School where he taught for many years. A loving man and a good neighbor, Bob will be deeply missed. A good teacher and committed farmer, he has always been a wonderful role model for kids. Here is the announcement from his family: "It's with heavy hearts we share the passing of husband, father, brother, grandfather and great grandfather, Bob Burkhalter. Bob passed away peacefully at home on February 26, 2022, just six days shy of his 90th birthday. Bob was a veteran, teacher, coach, farmer, fisherman, hunter, beekeeper and gardener. He loved the outdoors and travel adventures. Bob was funny and told a good story with a twinkle in his eye. He was forever teaching and sharing his knowledge with others. We love and miss him dearly."

I bet Bob Burkhalter would be so proud of our Naselle GR high school athletes who will be moving to the State 1B Tournament in Spokane this week. The Naselle boys begn play in Spokane on Wednesday with a loser out game against Northwest Yeshiva at 9 a.m. The Naselle girls started later that day, taking on Wellpinit in a loser out game at 5:30 p.m. A great birthday present for Bob!

Memories of Bob: So many folks have great memories of Bob Burkhalter. It was hard to imagine him at almost 90 years old. His face and smile were always young in heart. Here are some comments from a few folks: Janine Klint Davidson on Facebook: "I loved him as a teacher. He's the reason I wanted to be one, too. He had a way of connecting with us. He called us by our Dad's names. I was George." From Bob Torppa: "He was always so calm with the kids. I can't remember him ever yelling at kids. He taught them the fundamentals of sports while they were outside with recess. They didn't just run around. He was busy teaching them how to hold a ball, or how to stand or how to bend their body for football. He was always focused on teaching sports and loved coaching. He was easy to work with and always easy to be around."

From Lois Burkhalter: They first came to Cathlamet and stayed two or three years teaching at the school there. Then Bob was offered a job at the Rosburg School. He wanted to take that offer so they could be living closer to the farm in Rosburg. When their kids were going to school, they always walked to the school from the farm along with Bob.

The family aren't having a funeral. Later on they may have a gathering, perhaps in the summer. Bob will be buried in the family cemetery on the Burkhalter farm. An obituary will give more information, I'm sure.

Naselle Boys and Girls Basketball Teams off to State in Spokane: So exciting to see both teams playing this week in Spokane. Thanks for the great send off the Naselle Fire Volunteers gave the teams as they headed out to state! Fire trucks with their lights blazing led the cars as they headed out. Community folks lined the road with signs and joy. Good luck!

Naselle Youth Camp info by March 11: While the state legislature continues with their budgeting work, this statement came from the Department of Juvenile Rehabilitation: "The Department of Juvenile Rehabilitation government affairs team is engaging with legislators as the process continues. "We will be able to update staff at the latest on March 11 as we anticipate all legislative processes will be concluded by then," officials said in their announcement. "We recognize the concern this causes, and while we do not have all the answers in this developing situation; we have an open door. We will also provide timely updates to employees and the young people of Naselle as we know more. We are committed to being open, transparent, and thoughtful. We also want to share our care for all involved."

Violin Concert: This Saturday at 2 p.m., musicians Kim Angelis and Jennifer Goodenberger will perform at the Naselle Community Center. Donations are requested at the door. Last week I gave you information on Jennifer Goodenberger and this week, information on Kim Angelis. She is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning composer and violin virtuoso. Her music is built on a solid classical foundation, but the inspiration flows from Eastern Europe, Russia and Spain. Kim's music has been featured on TV and during the 2000 Olympics. Her music was nominated for best original score by the California Independent Film Society and Best Score by the International Independent Film Tour. Her most recent CD, Passages, was nominated for Best Contemporary Instrumental Recording of 2020 by ZMR Broadcasters worldwide. Refreshments will be available and after the concert CD's will be for sale. Hope to see you there!

March 9: Grays River Flood Control District Meets at Johnson Park at 5:15. Come meet two folks interested in being Board members, Krist Novoselic and Charlie Shumar.

March 19: Karl Marlantes, noted author of the popular book based on our local area, "Deep River," will speak and sign his book on March 19 at 2 p.m. at the Naselle Community Center. Get your tickets ahead of time if you can. They are available at the Appelo Archives for $15 or $20 at the door. Or order on-line at: This will be an opportunity for all of us to learn more about the book.

Also March 19: Johnson Park will sponsor a super sale from 9 to 4. Get your table booked early. Tables are $10 and must be paid in advance. To reserve one, call Denise Blanchard at (360) 355-0472.

April 9: Johnson Park is sponsoring an Easter Craft Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Senior Lunches: Due to flooding, the Senior Lunch Club's luncheon was canceled March 2. Hope to see everyone on March 16 at noon at Rosburg Hall. CAP box lunches are available on Thursdays at noon at Rosburg Hall for pick up. Reserve yours by calling Denice at (360) 762-3111.

Word for the Week: Ukraine.


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