Longtime Harborite Everett Wadsworth is believed dead after a devastating fire at his trailer early Saturday morning in Central Park. He was 86.
Grays Harbor Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters from Grays Harbor Fire District 2 and the Montesano Fire Department responded to reports of a fire at Wadsworth’s trailer in the Central Park Trailer Park at about 1:15 a.m. Saturday. Just past 2 a.m., firefighters discovered a body in the trailer’s bedroom.
Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate said police were waiting to confirm the identity of the victim through the use of dental records.
Sadly for Wadsworth’s family, there’s little doubt.
“That part we’re pretty sure of. I don’t know why anybody else would have been there,” said his son, Patrick.
Although firefighters were able to keep the fire away from any other structures, the heat was so intense it melted the shades inside a neighboring trailer about 25 feet away.
“It’s terrible, it’s just burnt to nothing,” Patrick Wadsworth said. “They were pretty sure (the cause) was one of the space heaters that he had up front.”
“At this point there doesn’t appear to be anything suspicious,” Shumate said. “Obviously we’re still trying to determine the origin of the fire,” Shumate said. He thanked the Hoquiam Fire Department for sending a fire investigator to help out.
Former owner of the Linkshire Deli and three other grocery stores, Wadsworth was well known throughout Grays Harbor for his generosity and gregariousness.
“He was well liked. He liked going to the Eagles and the Elks and the VFW and he had his friends there, that was kind of his life,” Patrick Wadsworth said. “He was very kindhearted. He never wanted to make anybody angry, so he was pretty agreeable.”
The World War II Navy veteran’s name is already engraved on the veterans’ wall in Fleet Park at Montesano. He grew up in Tacoma and came to Grays Harbor in the 1950s to manage the Montesano Safeway. He went on to purchase or found four grocery stores, working well into his 70s.
“He was one hell of a go-getter. He worked and worked and just kept working,” said Patrick Wadsworth, who worked for his dad at Linkshire Deli for about six years. Sometimes it strained their relationship, he recalls, but he counts it as a very meaningful time for them as well.
“It taught me a lot about the business side of things, even though I’m a radical Democrat,” Patrick Wadsworth said with a laugh. “I learned how to work, I learned how business works, it was a very special time for us. Especially for me.”
Longtime friend and Port of Grays Harbor commissioner Chuck Caldwell remembered Wadsworth as community-oriented.
“Basically, I’ve known Everett and his family forever. He was just a friendly guy. If anybody needed something, Everett was there to help out. He was just a very special person,” Caldwell said. “He’s got an awesome family. Gee whiz, they all produce for the community. That’s the way Everett was. He was a producer and a supporter of Grays Harbor. Whether he was down and out or if he was on the top of the world, Grays Harbor was very important for him.”
Patrick Wadsworth said his father had been in very good health, and his sudden loss has been difficult for his family.
“I figured he’d be around for at least another 10 years,” he said.
“He was just a very, very good friend,” Caldwell said. “It’ll be a loss.”