In Memory of Paul T. Werschkull
May 30, 1923 – December 26, 2017
Born Paul Tony Werschkull to Ralph and Mabel (Owen)Werschkull in Tillamook, Oregon on May 30, 1923. Paul was a World War II veteran, a devoted husband and father, and a consummate fisherman.
Paul’s youth and early years were shared between the Portland area and the Oregon coast, and he especially loved spending time at the Werschkull family homestead on the Nestucca River. While on the coast, he spent time hunting and fishing, as well as working in the woods, on dairy farms owned by friends in the community and the Tillamook Cooperative Creamery in Cloverdale and Hebo.
At an early age, Paul developed a passion for fishing and the outdoors. Early on he became an accomplished steelhead and salmon fisherman. He loved being on and around the water and hanging out with his fishing pals. Some of his closest friends have said that when he wasn’t fishing he was THINKING about fishing! In later years, he enjoyed fishing trips to Mexico and Alaska, as well as continuing his exploration of OR and WA rivers and estuaries. He especially enjoyed trolling for spring Chinook on the Willamette River.
When Paul was 14, he completed the Citizens Military Training Course at Fort Hurlburt in Vancouver, WA. He learned basic military discipline, the importance of physical fitness, and marksmanship with “dry” ammo. In 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Following Basic Training and Truck Driver Specialist School, Paul was invited to remain stateside as a Truck Driver instructor. Paul declined and began his service with the Army’s Combat Engineers. He was sent overseas for 3 years, landing in Australia before being deployed to New Guinea, the Philippines, and then on to Japan.
Following honorable discharge from the Army in 1945, Paul used his truck driving skills to haul mail for Tillamook-Portland Auto Freight and went on to purchase his own truck. During his post-war years in Tillamook, he met the love of his life, Betty June Petteys, of Bay City, OR.
Paul and Betty were married in Oakland, CA on November 7, 1949. They lived for a short time in San Francisco, but Paul soon tired of being away from home for long periods. He sold his truck and bought a dairy farm in the mountains west of Eugene. Paul and Betty worked at dairy farming for many years, milking 30 to 40 head, before Paul eventually decided to return to truck driving. They bought a home and 5 acres in rural Tigard as a home base for raising their three children; Nora, Grant, and Gail. Paul’s freight-hauling job with Bend Portland/System 99 involved relatively short turnaround trips, allowing time for family, home, garden/orchard projects —- and fishing.
In 1981, Paul retired and he and Betty moved to a home on Marrowstone Island, a small community on Puget Sound. There they enjoyed community, gardening, and fishing. Paul finally had the time to become politically active and was especially grateful for the opportunity to work with Senator Al Swift and others on the removal of two dams on the Elwa River that had blocked salmon from spawning.
In the mid-1990’s, Paul and Betty returned to the Portland Metropolitan Area to be closer to family and friends. They renewed old friendships and formed new ones during their years in Scappoose and Tualatin.
Paul is survived by his wife Betty June, children Nora Herndon, Grant Werschkull (Patty), and Gail Judge (Joe) and grandchildren Emily Pennick (Kevin), Stephanie Herndon, Blake McDowall, and Sarah Judge, and great grandchildren Grace Pennick, Chase Winnestorfer, John Pennick, Jack Pennick, and Grant Pennick.
A celebration of Paul’s life will be held at the Club House at Angel Haven Mobile Home Park in Tualatin, OR (18485 SW Pacific Hwy.) from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 3rd. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to the Friends of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge or Smith River Alliance.
To make a gift in Paul’s memory click here.