John (Jack) Griffith Westerlund
1939 – 2009
Jack’s 70 years of compassionate enthusiasm for life ended unexpectedly on the morning of June 3rd. The son of Jack and Jane Westerlund of Ashland WI, Jack spent most of his youth outdoors, becoming an avid swimmer, skater, ice fisherman, and snowmobile racer. His early adult years took him to Ashland Teacher’s College, into the U.S. Navy as a communications specialist, and on to a 20 year career at James River Paper/American Can Company, where he was honored with the William F. May Award for Outstanding Dedication to Service for Others.The award recognized Jack’s statewide advocacy and leadership as president of the Learning Disbabilities Association (LDA) of Wisconsin. While serving on the national nominating committee he met and married his wife Trina, then the Northwest representative to LDA.After moving to Bellevue in 1982, Jack loved exploring the Cascade mountains, local rivers, and searching for deer and elk in Eastern WA. Following 4 years in retail and insurance sales, Jack was once again drawn to work on behalf of children. He became a prevention specialist at Children’s Institute for Learning Differences/CHILD, the regional special education center of which Trina is founder and Executive Director. For 22 years Jack took on the key roles of managing Facility Maintenance, Transportaion Services, School Security,Intervention Services, and founded the Manual Arts/Wood Shop Program. When he retired in June 2008 Jack had served and empowered hundreds of struggling students who came to love and trust him, fondly calling out “Hi, Mr. W”.Family and friends knew Jack by his signature red suspenders and graying beard, his love of playful humor, his passion for the outdoor world, his kind and generous actions, and his deep respect for children and families. All would say that when Jack hugged you, you felt his caring down to your toes.He is survived by his wife Trina, sons Allen, Kevin, and Jeff Westerlund, daughter Laura Hames, step-sons Andrew and Jim Craig, and 9 grandchildren:Justine, Nicole, and Laura Lynn Westerlund; Chenoa, Hannah, and Daylee Hames; and Cameron, Owen, and Peyton Craig.A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, June 19 at 1:00 p.m. at Bellevue Church of Christ,10419 SE 11th Street, Bellevue WA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts be sent to: “Jack Westerlund Memorial Fund” at CHILD, 4030 – 86th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.