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West Seattle Blog… | Memorial planned July 2 for Donald S. Werlech, 1928-2022

Family and friends of Don Werlech will meet on July 2 for his funeral mass. Here is the memory they share with their community:

Donald Stephen Werlech
In sweet memory

It is with sadness that we say goodbye to our 94-year-old father.

Donald Stephen Werlech (Don) was born March 16, 1928, the eldest of five children, and died peacefully at home on June 10, 2022, surrounded by his three children and five grandsons.

Born to Croatian immigrants Mike and Josephine Werlech, Don grew up in the Riverside neighborhood and has been a lifelong resident of West Seattle. He attended Holy Rosary Elementary School and Seattle Prep High School. After high school, Don served honorably in the United States Army as a peacekeeper after World War II. His service to our country paved the way for him to attend Seattle University on the GI Bill. Always independent-minded, Don was a successful business owner for over 45 years in the White Center area.

Don’s passions were many. A life member of the Croatian Fraternal Union, he attended many functions throughout the year, including picnics and music festivals. Don spent many hours restoring his “baby”, a vintage 1931 Ford Model A, and was a proud member of the Evergreen A’s, a group of local Model A enthusiasts. In 2021, he was honored by the A with their prestigious Man of the Year award. He enjoyed reading, hummingbird watching, fishing and traveling with his lifelong buddies, family reunions and reunions, and especially socializing with old friends and new acquaintances.

Don’s greatest joy and greatest ministry was helping others. He made people laugh with his stories and quick teases. He would drive those in need to any appointment or event. You would often see Don at Providence Mount St. Vincent visiting all the residents and taking the time to talk and get to know them. He often brought them flowers to brighten their day. His generosity does not stop there, as he also brings flowers to his family and friends. He had a passion for daily walks around the neighborhood and often took his neighbor Tucker’s dog along (and any other dogs he saw along the way), ending with a treat and plenty of appreciative barking.

Without a doubt, Don’s greatest passion was his five grandsons. Don spent countless hours cheering on their sporting events and attending school activities, ever the proud grandpa. Don loved to take road trips to watch his grandsons’ sports tournaments or just visit them as they grew into young men and ventured out on their own.

Don was a strong believer in community and family. He and his wife raised their children in the family’s 35th Avenue home, which they owned for 61 years. Don regularly attended mass just down the street at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, where he served as chief usher for years. A testament to Don’s belief in being a strong member of the community, his eight children and grandchildren graduated from Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien.

Don is survived by his children Donita, Deena and Michael; daughter-in-law Mary Jo; grandsons Danny (28), Anthony (27), Joey (26), Michael (24) and Alexander (24); and his sister Helen Chamberlain and brother Zrene Werlech. Donald is predeceased by his beloved wife of 56 years, Patricia. Don will forever be remembered as a loving husband, father, special grandfather and friend to many. We feel blessed to have had him for so long and know he will be missed forever. Her smile, her laughter and her love will forever live in our hearts.

For those wishing to offer a keepsake, the family respectfully requests that, in lieu of flowers, a donation in Don’s name be made to Saint Teresa’s Orphanage in Zagreb, Croatia c/o CFU 439, Humanitarian Relief Fund, 2130 48th Ave SW, Seattle, Washington 98116.

Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, July 2, 2022, 10 a.m., 7000 35th Avenue SW, Seattle. Burial at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Seattle. Please view his obituary online at

(The BMS publishes Seattle Obituaries and commemorative announcements on request, free of charge. Please send the text, and a photo if available, to [email protected])