Lynn Wallace Weidenbach passed away peacefully from natural causes at his home on Monday, November 8, at the age of 81. In the weeks and days leading up to his passing, Lynn was happy, smiling, joking and loving while surrounded by family and many of the innumerable friends he made during the course of his extraordinary life.
While Lynn often referred to himself as “just a farmer”, nothing was farther from the truth as his presence on earth made a positive impact on the lives of the hundreds, if not thousands, of those who had the privilege of knowing him and receiving his guidance, advice, and ever-present words of encouragement.
Lynn was born on January 3, 1940, in Oak Harbor Washington to parents Ed and Eunice Weidenbach becoming youngest brother to Bruce, Beverly and Rosalie. After Eunice’s death, Ed married Lillian “Lilly” Berg-Sheckles and, at age 7, Lynn welcomed older stepsiblings Bill, Jean and Joanne to the family.
Lynn attended Oak Harbor High School and graduated in 1958. During his time in high school, he excelled in athletics and forged life-long bonds with best friends Joe Short and Les Kammenga. Some of his fondest sports memories involved following a lead block from Joe into the endzone on the gridiron and taking one of Joe’s outlet passes to the hoop on the basketball court.
Between his time attending class and playing sports, Lynn worked closely with his father tending to the 50 head of Gurnsey Dairy cows on the family dairy farm at West Beach. When the family was displaced by the runway expansion at NAS Whidbey, they purchased a farm in LaConner Washington and relocated – a fortuitous event as it turned out – as that is where Lynn met the love of his life when Lilly played the role of matchmaker and hired the neighbor’s daughter, Margaret Peth, to “babysit” Lynn.
With a shared love of horses, farming, and family, Lynn and Margaret were married at the Peth Family Farm on September 17, 1961 and settled around the corner at the Weidenbach Family Farm on McLean Road. Son Ward was born in 1962, followed by daughters Shannon in 1964 and Sally in 1965.
With a wife and family to support, Lynn set about the business of becoming a successful farmer. He and his father successfully transitioned the business from a dairy farm to a beef and crop farm in the late 1970’s. Following the passing of his father, Lynn continued to grow the farm, ultimately tending to a herd of 200 cattle while also growing and harvesting crops on nearly 300 acres. During this time, he was active in the Washington Cattleman’s Association and served as President of the Marysville Livestock Auction where he oversaw all operations for over 20 years, ultimately negotiating the sale of the property to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Lynn drew upon his love and unequalled knowledge of livestock and horses in his leisure pursuits as well, actively participating into his 70’s with his wife Margaret, in local and regional team roping events – winning several jackpots and buckles to go with his fair share of bumps, bruises and broken bones along the way.
While the farming life and all that goes with it was truly in his blood, Lynn’s other great passion was filling the role of coach and mentor to his own children and hundreds of others from LaConner, Skagit Valley and beyond. In the 1980’s, he served as an “Honorary” Assistant Football Coach under Landy James and Assistant Boys Basketball Coach under Landy James and Len Bone at LaConner High School. In the 1990’s and 2000’s he served two stints as LaConner High School Head Girls Basketball Coach, both times with his daughter Shannon serving as his Assistant Coach and occasional “cooler head” – her having perfected the art of restraining him by his belt loop in those rare moments when he questioned the referees about their eyesight.
In addition to his official coaching duties, Lynn and wife Margaret also opened their home to several Skagit Valley College Men’s Basketball players over the years, providing room, board, meals and, of course, impromptu coaching on the driveway basketball court. Several of those players went on to play NCAA Division I basketball, and one even made it to the NBA where he played for 10 years.
A man of many talents and achievements during his lifetime, Lynn was equally at ease herding cattle on horseback, plowing ground on a tractor, drawing up a fast-break during a time-out, forging new friendships and nurturing old ones. Some of his other memorable adventures included summiting Mt. Adams, rafting the rapids of Hell’s Canyon on the Snake River, attending the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and landing a 50 lb. King Salmon near Deception Pass.
Lynn lived his life with purpose and a positive outlook every day, setting the example for his children, grandchildren, and hundreds of those who rightfully viewed him as a friend and mentor. He will be remembered for his outgoing personality, humor, grace, loyalty, love, generosity, endearing smile, firm handshake, work-worn hands, cowboy hat and as the guy who always had a pocketknife handy to help the kids open tightly wrapped packages on Christmas morning. All our lives are better for having been part of his.
Lynn is survived by his wife Margaret of LaConner, WA; son Ward Weidenbach and wife Kerry of Miles City, MT; daughter Shannon Hiller and husband Kyle of LaConner, WA; daughter Sally Azure and husband Andrew of LaConner, WA; grandchildren Davin Taipale and wife Nicole of Nashville, TN, Cody Taipale and Caitlin Collins, of LaConner, WA; Rogan Taipale of LaConner, WA, Kaylin (Weidenbach) Folmar and husband Hayden of Sultan, WA; Ed Weidenbach of Miles City, MT, Ottey (Weidenbach) Ekkelkamp and husband Darin of Miles City, MT; Alec Azure of LaConner, WA, Hailey Azure and fiancé Jose Zavala of Anacortes, WA; great-grandchildren Hayden Taipale, Caleb Taipale, Rayna Taipale of Nashville, TN; Blaine Taipale, Ripp Taipale of LaConner, WA; Billie Mae Folmar, Waylon Folmar of Sultan, WA; Archie Ekkelkamp of Miles City, MT, and Kion Zavala of Anacortes.
A celebration of Lynn’s life will be held on at 4:00 PM, Sunday July 17, 2022, at The Vinery at Christianson’s Nursery, 15806 Best Road, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
In memory of Lynn, donations can be made in his name to The Jenny Stiles Hudson Scholarship Fund, c/o the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, PO Box 96, Ellensburg, WA 98926, or online at www.washingtoncattlemen.org, or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the care of Kern Funeral Home of Mount Vernon. You may offer your condolences and share memories of Lynn to his family online at www.kernfuneralhome.com