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Jay LaMarche


Joseph Hartley LaMarche, known to most as Jay, passed away in Goldendale on Feb. 24, 2018 at the age of 78. Jay was born to Margery (Hartley) and Gardner LaMarche on April 17, 1939 in Bessemer Township, Michigan.

In his youth he had many adventures, including swimming across Sandy Beach Lake when he was only 13 and canoeing down the Saint Croix River from Solon Springs to Saint Croix Falls. He graduated with the class of 1957 from LL Wright High School in Ironwood, Michigan, and then joined the United States Army in 1958. He was honorably discharged as a SP4 in 1962, and received the National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Korea Defense Service Medal for his service in Korea. He later served as a civilian advisor in Viet Nam, where he was an interpreter.

During the Army, Jay married Clara Salo in 1960 and they had two children. He later married Virginia Bing Wright in 1982. Throughout his life he had a thirst for knowledge and attended multiple universities, attaining multiple degrees. Jay worked several different jobs and was a highly skilled and sought-after carpenter in Rockville, Maryland. When his joints started to ache, he returned to college, earned a degree in French, and taught high school in Maryland. He retired but couldn't stand being idle, so he started driving the school bus for special needs kids in Rockville-a job he loved above all others. When Virginia was stricken with Alzheimer's, he cared for her at home until he was physically no longer able to do so. Even after she went into long-term care, Jay was with her every day until she passed away in 2013. Loyalty was a way of life for Jay.

Mr. LaMarche was the family historian and spent thousands of hours researching records, even publishing a book of the LaMarche Family Genealogy. Jay was a member of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Rockville, Maryland and a lifetime member of the Izaak Walton League. His hobbies included genealogy, archaeology, photography, anthropology, historical reenactments, antique rifles, cooking and gardening. Foreign languages also fascinated Jay, and he fluently spoke German, Spanish, French, Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese.

Strength of character and hard work were the hallmarks of Jay's life.

He will be missed by his daughter Cynthia "Thia" LaMarche of Beaverton, Oregon; son Roger LaMarche of Vancouver, Washington; partner and long-time friend Ruth Miles Bruns of Goldendale; stepdaughter Frances "Frankie" Wright-McCalmont of Upland, California; brothers and sisters Andree LaMarche Carlson, William Borawski (Toni), Gardner LaMarche (Terri), Charles LaMarche (Patty), Christy Drayer (Henry), Mary Jo Dalphonso, Michele Stella (George), Julie LaMarche DeRosso (Mickey), William Cato (Pam), Bobby Cato, Paul Cato, Linda Heath (Stan) and Richard Johnson; one grandchild; many nieces, nephews and cousins. Jay was preceded in death by his mother, Margery (Hartley) Borawski, father, Gardner LaMarche, grandparents Andrew and Erna (Bowman) Hartley, Albert and Elizabeth (Gardner) LaMarche.

To send condolences to the LaMarche family, please visit Remembrances to Izaak Walton League of America.


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