Jerry Arthur Hanowell 1943 - 2022

Jerry Arthur Hanowell died at home of a heart attack on May 27, 2022. He was 79.

 Jerry was born February 25, 1943, in Everson, Washington, to Walter and Cleta Hanowell. The youngest of three boys, he grew up in Nooksack, Washington, with a close, fun-loving family that instilled in him a lifelong affinity for nature, games and music, especially barbershop singing.

He graduated from Nooksack High School, where he participated in sports and music, then served two years in the U.S. Army. At a Hanowell family picnic, he met the love of his life, Gail Johnson, a friend of his cousin’s. Jerry and Gail became inseparable, marrying in 1967 at Gail’s parents’ home in Othello, Washington.

Following a shoestring honeymoon in Europe, the couple returned to Washington State University to complete their degrees. After graduating, they lived in Hardin, Montana, while Jerry taught school in Crow Agency. They later settled in Clarkston, Washington, where they raised their children, Racheal and Peter. Jerry loved the simple pleasures of active family life — camping, bicycling, tennis at the neighborhood court, horseshoes, golf, fishing, growing a vegetable garden, and ice skating on the golf course pond.

Jerry worked most of his career as a land surveyor in Clarkston and Missoula, Montana. The outdoor work suited him and took him to beautiful scenic areas, including Kake, Alaska, Diamond Lake in Oregon, and, most memorably, Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier Park.

With Gail, he cultivated an appreciation of classical music, art and theater. The couple were avid readers and always active in their local libraries. They enjoyed traveling together around the U.S., as well as to Canada, Russia, Great Britain, Australia and Italy. In Germany, Jerry reconnected with his cousin Ajo and family. 

Jerry was an enthusiastic photographer and would regularly email images of wildlife, nature, flowers and other interesting sights to friends and family. He and Gail also mailed dozens of their photo calendars to loved ones every Christmas. He saw, and helped others see, the everyday beauty all around us.

He was known for his affability, kindness and unfailing good humor. He maintained a youthful, optimistic outlook his entire life that helped him connect with people of all ages and backgrounds. Kids, especially, responded to him, and he counted his many nieces and nephews among his biggest fans. 

In early 2018, soon after the Hanowells moved to McMinnville, Oregon, to be closer to their daughter, Jerry was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He underwent a bone marrow transplant at OHSU in Portland in August of that year, and after a challenging recovery, he enjoyed almost three years of relatively good health. But complications from the transplant eventually left him unable to do many of the things he loved, and he decided against the heart surgery that might have prolonged his life. He lived fully and joyfully, and left on his own terms.

He wished to donate his body to help further medical knowledge. His family was honored to help fulfill that wish through the OHSU Body Donation Program.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Gail Hanowell; daughter, Racheal Winter (Gordon); son, Peter Hanowell (Robin); and brothers, Manny Hanowell and Stan Hanowell. He had five grandchildren, Marley, Zeta, Henry, Sam and Abby; and a large and loving extended family. 


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