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Stanley Dean Sizer

November 18, 1949 - January 11, 2022

     Stanley Dean Sizer, son, husband, father and granddad, was born in Sunnyside, Washington, to Stanley Sylvester and Lois Elaine (Fuerst) Sizer. Dean always said his mom won out and he wasn’t a junior, and was forever thankful to her. Being born in 1949, he would often say “I am the last of the 49ers.” They took him home to Granger where he grew up on a farm on Van Belle Road. His brother Melvin Bruce Sizer came along in 1952. Dean suffered from heart disease and kidney disease for over 20 years and he died at home when his heart gave out at age 72 (he always said he was never going to a nursing home).

     From an early age he loved farming. His family had dairy cows, bees, asparagus and corn at different times. He willingly helped on the farm by the time he was 10. He was farming by the time he was 15 and, at 18, he farmed full time while also attending college. Farming was not in his blood as his father was an accountant and the Sizers came from ancestors who were merchants and ship builders, with a gambler and an attorney thrown into the mix. Dean’s roots lay deep in America with early ancestors in New England going back to the 1600s, but also as recent as his German family lines arriving in America in the 1880s. He was proud of his heritage and his DNA proved these lines of descent with even a small percentage of Indian blood in him most likely on his Taylor line from Maine. Dean also had a deep love for family and often talked about his grandpa and grandma, George Wales and Rebecca (Waldbauer) Sizer, and his grandpa Joseph Fuerst (nicknamed Little Joe the Wrangler). He didn’t get to meet his grandma Wilhelmina (Kortemeier) Fuerst who died when his mother was in college. He also had many great aunts who he talked about, especially his great aunt Clara Kortemeier who had been a missionary in China before the revolution for over 30 years spreading the gospel of Christ Jesus.

     Dean was a 12-year senior at Granger High School, graduating with the class of 1968. Dean played the trumpet in band from 5th grade through high school and was first chair in high school. He played basketball in junior high until he damaged his ankle. At the University of Washington he was on intramural crew which required strong upper body strength.

     He attended Yakima Valley College for two years and transferred to the University of Washington where he majored in Forestry Engineering. In 1972 Boeing laid off hundreds of engineers and he had no experience to compete with them, so he decided he would farm. It was an occupation he dearly loved and he had been pruning grapes with his John Deere tractor just the day before he died, never wanting to retire. By 1979 his brother and he were producing apples, prunes, cherries, pears, grapes and corn. At the height of farming they had 1,004 acres but sold most of the land as his health declined.

     Dean met Kathleen L. Weddle at Yakima Valley College. It was not love at first sight for either of them but they were meant for each other. They were married in 1972 and would have celebrated their 50th anniversary on July 22, 2022. He would call her “Louie” sometimes and was always forgetting her birthday but never forgot their anniversary. They shared a love of family, comedies, history, museums and travel. They were blessed with their first child and daughter Colleen in 1973; daughter Stephanie in 1974; son Gregory in 1972, arriving home in 1980; son Anthony in 1974, arriving home in 1983 and bonus son Bill Cowl in 1973 joining the family in 1994. Dean also was blessed with his “sister” he never had in 1992 when his cousin Jim White married Susan Hall. He also opened his home to exchange students Peter Agh from Slovakia and Joost van der Weide from the Nederlands.

     Dean enjoyed antique autos and owned a 1929 Ford truck, a 1931 Willis Knight, added a 1923 Model T Ford Coupe, and was a member of Apple Valley Model “A” Ford Club. He always had dogs or cats up until recently and talked about his dogs Whitey, Dusty, Prince, and his first cat Throckmorton and his last cat Conrad, the one-eyed pirate, who is still at home. Dean liked magicians and hated mimes. He enjoyed auto racing as well. He could fix any piece of farm equipment and his rows of corn that he planted were perfect. During the 1980s he drove his long haul semi to Arizona and the Mexican border and back to Canada trucking french fries south and fruits and vegetables north to pay for his truck to haul fruit to the warehouse. In his 60s he traveled to Minnesota every October to help his daughter’s friend Neil Rockstad harvest sugar beets. Dean ran the topper. He had to give that up when he went on dialysis three days a week but really loved the huge open farms of Minnesota and the respect farmers received there.

     Two major events that Dean always talked about: the Columbus Day Storm of October 12, 1962 (Typhoon Freda formed off Wake Island). It was one of the most destructive cyclones to hit the Pacific Coast, especially in Oregon with 47 deaths. He remembered the storm clearly in the Yakima Valley even though he was only 12 years old. There was much damage in the valley because of the high winds. The second event was May 18, 1980, when Mt. St. Helens blew apart. He and his brother saw the cloud coming and thought “that is some rain storm coming,” and then the ash starting falling. They could hardly see to pick up the asparagus boxes. They didn’t harvest the asparagus for two days. The warehouse wouldn’t accept it. They didn’t pick peaches or apricots that summer because the ash wouldn’t wash off the fruit. It was a financially hard year for farmers.

     Dean was involved in his sons’ Boy Scout Troop 643 of Grandview, was Chairman of Granger Irrigation District for years and was an Elder at Zillah Community Church (the historic white church). He attended, as much as possible, piano recitals and sporting events of his children and grandchildren.

     On June 6, 2021 Dean was baptized at Sunnyside Grace Brethren Church. His testimony: “I heard the message at a young age brought to me by a minister named Ned Collingridge. It touched my heart and I accepted Jesus as my savior. We are hated by men as never before in this country but today I want to be baptized. It is an outward statement in the saving grace of God.” He also went on to say that he saw the healing power of God when he had his heart attack and the doctors said they couldn’t help him. God healed him so he was with us for seven more years.

Dean was liked by all and was very helpful to his friends and neighbors. His family described him as affectionate, kind, generous, loving, funny, and a big tease. We could go on and on but it would take up half the newspaper.

     Preceding Dean in death were his parents, his grandparents, uncle Mel and wife Vera Sizer; uncle Laurence and wife Kathryn Sizer; uncle Leonard and wife Roxine Fuerst; aunt Doris Fuerst; in-laws A. Edward and Vivian J. Weddle and “brother” John Cardenas; 2nd cousin Jim White and other extended cousins.

     Dean is survived by wife Kathy; brother Bruce and nephew Simon of the valley; son Greg, wife Meranda and grandson Noah Dean Sizer of Florida; daughter Colleen, husband Matthew Christenson and grandchildren Claire and John of Cowiche; son Anthony and daughter Isabella Sizer of Tucson; daughter Stephanie, husband Corey Harbott and grandchildren Audrey, Thor and Madeline of Crookston, Minnesota; and bonus son William Cowl and granddaughters Meghan and Macey of Haverill, Massachusetts; brother-in-law Jerry (Charlene) Weddle, sons Joel Krause and Nick (Katie) Krause and children; sister-in-law Demaris Garceau and daughters Melody (Ben) Marlow and children and Devona (Ed) Vader and son; Fuerst cousins Kenneth (Cynthia) Fuerst and Phyllis Lutz. He is survived by Sizer cousins Carol (Dennis) Reed and Earl (Sharon) Sizer; Sizer cousins Rosemary, Darlene, Sharon, Daniel, Laura and Donald Sizer; “adopted parents” Bob and Anita Tan and daughter Atina Tan (husband Cedric Silas); “sister” Susan White and daughters Jamie and Anna and her daughter Elizabeth; “adopted brother” Joe Cardenas and wife Lola, daughter Elianna, son Joey and wife Nora Cardenas and children, and daughter Selena and her daughters; and special 2nd cousins Tim and Mark Davidson, Jeff and Judy Simerl, Rebecca Aiger, Dan and Judy White and Paul and Debbie Lindblad. We will miss him dearly.

     A huge thank you to the nurses and technicians at Zillah DaVita Dialysis for the wonderful care he received over the last four years. It was the people that made him show up there every other day!

     Dean’s funeral will be held at Sunnyside Grace Brethren Church, 703 Franklin Avenue, Sunnyside, Washington, Saturday, January 22, 2022, at 10:30 AM with graveside service to follow at Zillah Cemetery, Zillah. The family is requesting you wear masks to keep our living loved ones safe. Covid-19 was such a worry for Dean while he was on dialysis. Memorial donations can be made to Sunnyside Grace Brethren Church designated “missionaries Elvis and Sulee Tangko” or “The Kidney Project,” UCSF’s project to come up with an artificial kidney for end stage renal failure. Valley Hills Funeral Home & Crematory is in charge of arrangements, www.valleyhillsfh.com.

 

You can make a memorial donation in Dean's memory by coming into the library and filling out a form or you can submit a donation online by using the form located here.

 

A notification of any donation made in Dean's memory will be sent to:

Kathy Sizer

590 Bagley Rd.

Granger, WA 98932