Walter Edwin Achamire, Jr., 72, my husband of 44 years, died Easter evening, March 31, 2013, from complications of liver disease. He was born May 12, 1940, in Yakima, Wash. at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to Clara Josephine (Domish) Achamire and Walter Edwin Achamire, Sr.
The family moved to Seattle, Wash., where Walt graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1958. During high school he was a member of the Crew team. During this time he had great friends from junior high: Bob Campbell, LeRoi Schenck, and Jon Rider. These four formed a car club that met at Walt’s house — one story includes a car that someone crashed into and destroyed the garage door. Three of these friends joined the U.S. Marine Corp in Sept. 1958: LeRoi Schenck (radio operator,) Bob Campbell (infantry in Okinawa,) and Walt (Administrative Stenographer, not the front line job he wanted, because they found out he could type!). He served at 29 Palms, Calif. until discharged in August 1961 to attend college.
Walt returned to Washington, attended Western Washington University and graduated with a teaching degree. He met Thelma Petra Nelsen of Bellingham in 1961; they married in 1968, whereupon they packed up a truck and moved to Anchorage, Alaska. Life in Alaska was intense and filled with joy, snow, and cross-country skiing. They purchased land on Fernwood Lane off of Rabbit Creek Road, built a cabin, and enjoyed the Land until leaving Alaska in 1978.
His first teaching job was in Alaska at Chugiak High School, Chugiak, Alaska in the early 70s where one of the highlights of his career was providing a bookstore from which students could pick a book to read. A second highlight would be the moment he inadvertently leaned back on a desk and onto a burning candle. Later in the 70s he taught at Dimond-Mears Junior/Senior High School in Anchorage.
In 1978, Walt and Thelma moved back to Orondo, Wash., working at Little Owl Orchard for Doyle and Thyra Fleming; eventually, they purchased an orchard in Okanogan, Wash. Walt substituted for a few years to support the orchard, taught for a while in the Okanogan program at the jail, and in 1984, took a full-time teaching position at Omak High School teaching history and current world problems. He retired in 2008.
Teaching was his passion! The students his great joy! He wanted me to be sure to mention how proud he was of the students’ individual successes. He loved running into former students and catching up on their lives. (He also wanted the students who burned his mailbox on the Homecoming Bonfire every year to know that he felt honored and never held it against them! — you know who you are… .)
Family was the other of Walt’s great joys! He loved interacting with all family members. The nieces and nephews, the great nieces and nephews all helped keep his sense of play active and alive — he was notorious for playing hard, hyping up the children, and then letting the parents deal with the giddy fallout. Those children adored him as he them!
He was preceded in death by his father, mother, several aunts and uncles and a nephew. Survivors include his wife, Thelma; his sister, Barbara Jean Gilmour, eight nephews (and spouses); one niece; ten great nieces and nephews; three brothers-in-law; and three sisters-in-law. Margy eloquently summed up our Walt: “A good man…kind, generous, bright, loving, faithful, fun, with true grit and integrity. What a gift he was to us all.”
As Walt wished, there will be no public memorial service. If you wish, you may make a donation in his name to Okanogan Wildlife League (229 C Eastlake Rd., Oroville, WA), Keystone Animal Rescue (382 Keystone Road, Riverside, WA), or a charity of your choice.
Precht-Harrison-Nearents Chapel and the Okanogan County Crematory LLC of Okanogan/Twisp are caring for the arrangements.