Clark Rees Garrison

Clark Rees Garrison, 52, of Burton, died of a heart attack on Nov. 25, 2006, on Vashon Island.

Mr. Garrison was born April 26, 1954, in Seattle. He grew up living at Vashon Heights and spending summers at a beach cabin on Ober Beach. He graduated from Vashon High School in 1974.

He followed his spirit of adventure to Alaska after briefly attending The Evergreen State College. There he became a commercial salmon fisherman and fished for 20 years out of his home in Ninilchik on his gillnetter, Greylight.

After the downturn in salmon fishing that followed the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Mr. Garrison developed home sites along the Ninilchik River on the Kenai Peninsula. In the process he became a skilled excavator operator.

In 1981 he married Marte Sue Chapman. They divorced, but remained close friends over the years. In 1989, Mr. Garrison married Lori Forrest. They raised two children. They spent summers in Alaska and winters traveling in their motor home to Mexico.

Mr. Garrison and family moved to Vashon Island, living in rentals until they built a house in Burton. He enjoyed creating a park-like setting on his property. He shared his land with others raising bees, greenhouse flowers, vegetables and bamboo.

Mr. Garrison and Lori separated, with the children returning to Alaska for the school year and spending vacations on Vashon. Three months before his death, Mr. Garrison was inspired to take a long-dreamed-of family vacation to the canals of Wales “before it’s too late.” He, Lori and the children spent three weeks in Europe this fall, making memories they will all treasure.

Mr. Garrison is survived by by his children Gwen, 17, Forrest, 15 and their mother Lori, all residents of Ninilchik, Alaska, as well as his former wife and friend, Marte Sue. Additional survivors include his father Gerry and stepmother Karin of Vashon, and his older siblings Ann of Anacortes and Ralph of Vermont. His mother, Gwen Rees Garrison, died earlier.

Friends and family say Mr. Garrison will be remembered for his ready laugh, quick wit and talent for figuring out complex systems, be they backhoes or board games. They also say he possessed a cheerful presence that never failed to light up a room.

Cremation will be handled by Island Funeral Service. A celebration of his life will be at Camp Burton at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3. A potluck gathering will follow at Mr. Garrison’s house in Burton. For details call 463-4363.

Donations made be made in Mr. Garrison’s memory to The Unitarian Scholarship Fund or to Vashon Youth and Family Services.

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