Vern Zillyett of Montesano passed away Monday, March 27, 2017, in Mesa Ariz., following a short illness. Vern was born to Clarence Otto and Delia Ellen (Baker) Zillyett April 26, 1939, in Elma, Wash. He was the first-born of four children.
Vern started his schooling in Oakville, Wash., then moved with his family to Schafer’s Camp, about two miles above Grisdale. One year later, he moved to Schafer’s Roundhouse (current location of Vaughan Chopper Pumps) and attended Olympic View School in Brady through the eighth grade. He then went on to graduate from Montesano High School in 1957.
While in school, Vern excelled as an athlete in football, basketball, and baseball. In his junior year, Vern joined the Army Reserves, serving for 7 1/2 years.
After high school, Vern started working for Early Tire in Aberdeen, Wash., then worked in the truck shop at Weyerhaeuser for a few years before taking a position with Pop and Buster Rose’s Mill Log Equipment in Springfield, Ore. He then took a position with Weyerhaeuser in Longview, Wash., as the shop foreman at the Camp Baker location at Mount St. Helens. He was in that position until the mountain erupted in 1980 and wiped out the camp. Vern then ventured up to Alaska, working as the shop foreman for Valentine Logging and Phoenix Logging. After leaving Alaska, Vern started, Vern’s Expediting Service, where he bought and sold heavy equipment parts for the logging industry.
In retirement, Vern and his wife Dee have enjoyed wintering in Arizona, where they both are widely respected shuffleboard players. Vern was recently awarded the District IV President’s Award for his many contributions to the game on the local, district, and state levels. He has been a District Director, served on the Rules Committee at the Arizona State Level, and has held the positon of President of the Washington State Shuffleboard Association. Vern volunteered countless hours to ensure all tournaments in which he was involved ran smoothly. He was also a member of the V.F.W., Longview Elks and the Montesano Moose Lodges. The Senior Center in Montesano will certainly miss his presence in the spring and summer, as he always had the coffee on bright and early, before anyone else was out of bed.
Vern is survived by his wife, Dee of the family home; children, Connie (Kevin) Smith of Kelso, Wash.; Jody (Tom) Harper of New Zealand; Lori (Pat) McMahon of Spokane; Theresa (Bryan) Oleachea of Montesano, Wash.; Ken McBride of Satsop, Wash.; and Lisa (Brendan) O’Neil of Charlotte, N.C.; a sister, Carolyn Randall of Olympia, Wash.; brothers Marvin and Edwin Zillyett of Montesano; eleven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, April 9, at 2 p.m., at the Montesano Church of God with a reception following at the Montesano Senior Center. Memorial donations may be made to the Montesano Senior Center, P.O. Box 524, Montesano, WA, 98563; the Montesano Volunteer Fire Department, 310 E. Pioneer Avenue, Montesano, WA 98563; or the charity of one’s choice.