Long time Islander, Robert “Bob” Stougard passed away on Friday, May 28, 2021, at the age of 81 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.
A lifelong Washington resident, Bob was born in Seattle in 1939. He graduated from Highline High School, Olympic Junior College and Western Washington University, majoring in Elementary Education and Art. It was at Western that he met Pat, the love of his life and wife of 58 years. After graduation, they married and moved to Vashon Island where Bob started his career with Vashon School District teaching fifth grade.
Several years later, when McMurray Intermediate School opened, he moved up to teach Art, Industrial Arts and Outdoor Survival to multiple generations of Vashon kids. At the same time, he was working part-time for Vashon Thriftway as a checker and then in the office; and upon retirement as a Laidlaw bus driver. He drove the aid car and chaperoned for Vashon Ski School, was a member and officer of the Vashon Education Association, and was active in the Vashon Sportsmen’s Club.
Community service was central to who he was. He found purpose in giving to the Vashon Island community throughout his adult life. He and Pat volunteered with the Vashon Jaycees during the time the organization produced the Vashon Strawberry Festival. He served as Scoutmaster in Troop 275 and later as Assistant Scoutmaster in Troop 294, mentoring the next generation of young men and leaders. The highlight of the Scouting year was always Camp Parsons on Hood Canal and the 50 Miler Afoot/ Afloat wilderness trips.
Many Islanders knew him as “Coach Stougard,” coaching several different school sports including Track and Field at Vashon High and Girls’ Volleyball at McMurray. For 28 years starting in 1971 Bob volunteered as a firefighter for Vashon Fire District 13. He was front row to many significant Island events including the Vashon Pharmacy fire of 1977. He later added Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Assistant Fire Chief to his fire district resume. For over 50 years he shared his love of hunting and the outdoors as a Firearm Safety and Hunter Education instructor in coordination with the Vashon Sportsmen’s Club.
Every fall he ventured up into the Cascade Mountains east of White Pass to go elk hunting in the Oak Creek – Bethel Ridge area, a trip anticipated all year long. Along with his lifelong friend Craig Harmeling, he introduced his kids to the adventure and responsibilities of hunting. Elk or no elk, it was always a time of seeing the splendor of God’s creation and building cherished memories. Besides traveling in retirement, Bob spent his spare time in his woodshop, creating toys and other projects for family and friends.
He is survived by his wife Pat, three sons, Steve (Pegeen), Matt (Claudia), and Chris (Emily), six grandchildren, and many other beloved relatives. He was preceded in death by his parents Earl and Lois, and his younger brother Jerry. He will be missed by many. A memorial will be held on August 14, 2021, at Bethel Church, Vashon. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the NW Parkinson’s Assoc., Bethel Church Vashon or Vashon Sportsmen’s Club.