Gerald (Jerry) Steven Pirttila Sr., 73, Montesano, passed away on March 20, 2014, at Pacific Care and Rehabilitation in Hoquiam, due to complications of COPD .
Jerry was born in Aberdeen, on May 28, 1940, the son of Eila (Kallio) and Aulis Esko Pirttila. He graduated from Aberdeen Weatherwax High School in 1958, after completing 27 correspondence courses while serving in the Navy from 1956 to 1961 aboard the U.S.S. Ticonderoga (CVA-14) as a 3rd class air controlman. He went on to receive a degree in electronics from the Devry Institute of Technology, an Associate of Arts degree from Grays Harbor Community College and a graduate of the National Cargo Bureau No. 1123.
Jerry was married to Joan Mae (Campell) Cole on March 9, 1996, in Yelm, they were married 18 years. She survives at the family home in Montesano. Previous marriages include Julianne (Lang) Ellsworth (deceased), Meridee Smith, Darlene Gillespie (deceased) and Linda (Brown) Neilson.
Jerry worked as a longshoreman for ILWU Local 24 (Aberdeen) from 1961 to 1979 and a Supercargo for Local 52 (Seattle), Pacific Northwest Ports from 1979 until his retirement in 2003. He enjoyed everything the Pacific Northwest embodied including fishing and camping, motor homing, electronics, the WA state lottery and playing Texas Holdem as well as being a fan of the Professional Bull Riders circuit. He was actively involved in the Aberdeen Eagles, American Legion, VFW, the Montesano Moose and Alcoholics Anonymous. He was proud of his Finnish-American heritage even building a sauna into his master bathroom in the family home.
As well as his wife Joan, Jerry is survived by sons, G. Steven Pirttila Jr. of Hoquiam,, Andrew Donald Pirttila of Wenatchee; and stepson, Troy Gillespie of Aberdeen; Daughter Suzzan Michelle (Shelly) Pirttila of Phoenix, Ariz.; and stepdaughters, Tiffany Gillespie of Aberdeen, Susie Shivel of Olympia, Jody Collins of Hoquiam, Cathy Cole of Portland, Ore.; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Jerry is preceded in death by his mother; father; and a sister, Denise R. Pirttila.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, March 30, 2014, at 2:30 p.m., at the Montesano Presbyterian Church, 201 East McBryde Ave. Steve Fishback will be officiating. A private internment at Fern Hill Cemetery will be held at a later date. Arrangements are being handled by the Neptune Society, Tacoma. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to the American Kidney Fund.