Konrad Willi Karl Schwencke, Jr.

January 24, 1933 - May 25, 2019


Devoted family man Konrad Schwencke was officially diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2011. His wife of 60 years Jane Haugen Schwencke was able to care for Konrad at home until the time of his death. On Friday May 24, Konrad was able to walk into Jefferson General Hospital for testing. By the next morning he died of heart failure and Jesus took him quickly home. Konrad was born and raised in Albany, New York by immigrant parents from Germany: Konrad Willi Karl Schwencke Sr. and Hedwig Tilsner Schwencke.

As a youth he worked on a truck farm, as a paper boy, in a grocery store, and as a theatre usher. Konrad joined the Navy Reserve at age 17, and graduated from Schuyler High School in 1952. He was called to active duty in Bainbridge, Maryland and Yorktown, Virginia before being stationed on the west coast in Bremerton and finally Indian Island. He was a mineman at the Naval Ammunition Depot. While serving on Indian Island Konrad worshipped at Grace Lutheran Church in Port Townsend where he met Jane and her family. He was honorably discharged in 1954 and began work for the Forest Service on the Olympic Peninsula.

By the end of 1954 he began work at Crown Zellerbach Paper Company in Port Townsend, working his way from the bull gang to maintenance foreman and eventually supervisor. During this time he served as shop steward and later as union president. He outlasted multiple owners of the paper mill throughout his 44 years of service with less than ten sick days.

Konrad, an Eagle Scout himself became a Scout Master and Explorer Post Advisor for Boy Scout troop #478 sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church. One weekend each month Konrad would take the scouts on backpacking adventures where he taught them outdoor survival skills. He was honored with the Boy Scout Lamb Award for his Christian leadership of youth on March 10, 2019. He served in scouting for over forty years.

As a faithful member of Grace Konrad helped build the new church building in 1955, sang in the choir and Good News Band, served on Church Council, taught Sunday school and established Grace Angels to provide transportation to doctor appointments for those unable to drive. Konrad made pickups of items from church and local grocery stores to deliver to the food bank. His great joy was volunteering many hours at Holden Village in the Cascades where he was found deep in the dirt repairing water lines for this Lutheran Retreat Center. He also served on the Port Townsend Library Board and as president.

Konrad enjoyed many outdoor hobbies that he shared with his family and friends including skiing, mountain climbing, biking, sailing, camping, backpacking, gardening, and in his later years he even tried paragliding. Among his climbing experiences were assents of Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens (before it blew), Mt. Baker, Mt. Olympus with his daughter Lisa, and so many other peaks in the Olympics. He also tinkered in carpentry and fixit projects, making birdhouses, whirligigs, kites, and model rockets. The whole family enjoyed launch day celebrations.

Konrad was preceded in death by his parents and one brother George Schwencke and wife Joan. He is survived by his wife Jane and their four daughters: Lisa Tuengel (Brad), Fara Schwencke, Greta Kocol (Ron), and Karla Kloes (Dean). He is also survived by grandchildren: Marcus, Martin, Marie Tuengel; Sarah DeBord (Jeff); Zeke Schwencke (Sarah); Benjamin, Jacob, and Noah Kloes; and great-grandchildren: Claire, Willow, Rowan, and Natalie DeBord and Grayson August Konrad Vangeloff. Survivors also include: Brothers-in-law David Haugen (Ramona) of Indio, CA and Richard Haugen (Diane) of Colorado Springs, CO and many nieces and nephews. Memorials may be given to Grace Lutheran Church, 1120 Walker St. Port Townsend or the Jefferson County Food Bank.

Funeral arrangements: A memorial service in thanksgiving for his life will be held at Grace Lutheran Church on July 7, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.


1 comment on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
Richard Prange

Konrad was our scout master for quite a few years. My brother, Skip, and I put many hours into the scouting program while Konrad led the group. He is thought of as a father figure by both of us. He taught us a true appreciation for our natural surroundings and donated many a weekend to our group hiking all over the Olympics. He would be considered as important to me as a member of the family. He and Bill Westerfield were the kind of volunteers a community needs to assist in raising its youth to be productive citizens. Both will be forever missed. Both played a major role in many young lives growing up in Port Townsend.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019