Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 7:41 PM on Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Earl Russell Engel

Sept. 9, 1923- March 19, 2011

Earl Russell Engel, 87, died March 19, 2011, in Mt. Vernon, Wash., with family present. Earl had a full life since his birth as an only child to Hans and Anna Engel on Sept. 9, 1923, in Manchester, Conn.


Earl Russell Engel

Going into the Navy in World War II, Earl was first a gunner's mate as an armed guard on the Merchant Marine ships in the European Theater. These convoys were close to Germany going to Russia in what was known as Torpedo Alley. In the second part of WWII, Earl was in the Pacific Theater as a gunner's mate and in Okinawa. After the war, Earl and his life-long buddy, Bob Turkington, Bob's wife, Carolyn, and two other friends changed their lives forever. Driving 1930 and 1931 Model A Fords, pulling trailers, the five friends drove up the Alaska Highway. The final destination was Homer, where they arrived in 1949. After a short time of homesteading, Earl ended up back where he was most comfortable, on a boat and in the water. He fished first with Vaino Salo on the "Shirls" in 1950. Later, he had his own Port Graham boat and commercial fished for salmon for many years.

Earl met and married a local girl, Evelyn Faulk, in Dec. 1950. They were a team until her death in 2007, raising three children, Jerry, Judy and Pat. Evelyn and Jerry fished with Earl every summer. Earl and Bob bought a Cat bulldozer and started Turkington and Engel Construction in winters. This was the beginning of a new career that took him away from the sea; eventually he started working as a superintendent in heavy construction. He worked with companies building roads, bridges and airports until he retired. He loved this work just as much as he loved the boats. One of his jobs took him back to Okinawa as part of building the Kedena airport with Pomeroy M-B Construction.

Earl and Evelyn moved to Stanwood, Wash., in 1979, although he commuted back and forth to Alaska until he retired in the mid '80s. They were the hub of family gatherings, for birthdays, holidays, picnics and horse shows. Family and friends were the most important thing to Earl. In 2006, Earl and Evelyn moved to LaConner, Wash., to be closer to most of the family.

Those who knew Earl at any stage in his life would agree that he was a good and kind man, a gentleman beyond words. Honesty, honor, patriot, gentle, loving, with a strong code of ethics; these are only a few of the words to describe Earl. His love and devotion for his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his friends was solid and unwavering.

Preceding Earl in death were his parents, Hans and Anna Engel; his grandson Roger Engel; his wife, Evelyn; and his daughter, Patricia Hagen.

Earl is survived by his son, Jerry Engel; his daughter, Judy Taipale; 13 grandchildren and their spouses; 20 great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; 10 nieces and nephews; and many dear close friends.

There will be a memorial at sea in the San Juans Islands in Washington state later this spring, when family boats can gather. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donating to those less fortunate or to the Red Cross.