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Brian Allen Wanless


Brian Allen Wanless was born in Seattle on November 21, 1946, to Neal Allen Wanless and Elizabeth Angeline Cochran. Brian's first and lifelong friends were his siblings, Becky and Tom. Brian graduated from Franklin High School in Seattle. He went on to college at WSU, where he received his BA and found the love of his life. On a blind date, he met Lynn Hill. He graduated in 1969, and on June 21, 1969 he and Lynn were wed at the United Methodist Church in Goldendale, Lynn's home church. Following graduation, they moved to Beaverton, Oregon, where Brian taught math for 15 years. He earned his Masters from Oregon State. After teaching in Beaverton, he moved to Goldendale, where he again taught math at the high school and middle school and coached girls' basketball. But Brian was more than a math teacher and coach; he was an encourager-seeing potential in each student. He was still helping children and youth in the months before his death. He was still tutoring youth in math and served on the board of Backpacks4Kids.

Brian and Lynn were blessed with two children of their own, Sarah and Eric. Brian was a big man with a bigger heart. His children remember the fun of riding with him on his motorcycle. They felt secure knowing he would hold on to them. They also remember many outings: picking huckleberries, letting them help when he was working on projects, dancing, and just playing with them. Often, they would accompany Brian to away games, perhaps a treat for Eric with all those girls! Sarah remembers being able to go to the dances that Brian and Lynn would chaperone, long before she was in Middle School. Brian loved roller coasters and taking his kids to Disneyland. He had to squeeze himself in as most of the rides weren't built for such tall men. The kids said because of his height it was always easy to find their dad!

Brian loved to get to know more about people. If the family lost him in the airport, it was usually because he was still at baggage claim having a chat with someone he just met. He and Lynn loved to travel with friends and visited Spain, Hawaii, Eastern Europe. New Zealand, Australia, and took multiple trips to England. He enjoyed deep sea fishing, golfing and was a loyal sports fan (Go Cougars!). He was faithful to his teams: WSU Cougars, Seahawks, Mariners, and the Blazers. But more, he was loyal to the kids he taught. He took seriously the command to love one another. He served many years in almost every job of the United Methodist Church. When he saw signs at a church that proclaimed, "God loves everyone," he knew his church needed to also proclaim that everyone was welcome. A deep thinker, he loved the Adult Class as they found new life in the Bible, connecting scripture with the world around them. Brian loved music and sang for years in the church choir. He was able to sing with the choir one last time at this year's Easter service. Brian believed nothing ever was achieved without enthusiasm. He lived how he believed, adding energy, vision, and care to each and every project he undertook.

On May 17, 2019 after a valiant fight against pancreatic cancer, Brian passed away at his home, near his wife of nearly 50 years, Lynn. He is survived by his wife, Lynn; children Sarah (Adam) Zwickle, Eric (Eileen); four grandchildren; his brother Tom (Millie) and his sister Becky; and countless students, friends, and neighbors.

A memorial service will be held on June 15 at 10 a.m. at New Life Assembly of God church. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Back Packs for Kids, 304 Fish Hatchery Rd, Goldendale, WA 98620.


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