Remember me when you see the light dappling through the trees or the mountains in all their majesty. For there I will be.
Remember me when you hear the hummingbird’s wings or the singing of the sea. For there I will be.
Remember me when you speak of love and family. For there I will be.
When you miss me, look around you . . . or listen . . . or speak of me. For there I always will be.
On Jan. 7, 2019, Richard “Dick” Gordon McGandy, at age 96, optimistically passed on to what he believed to be the stage after life on earth.
Born in April 1922 in Sumner, Washington, he was the youngest of four children of Phoebe and Roy McGandy. He graduated from Chehalis High School and attended Centralia College. During those days, he also earned a pilot’s license. He loved taking an unsuspecting friend or family member flying and doing barrel rolls.
After serving in World War II in the Aleutian Islands, the European theater and Japan, he returned to college. He graduated from the University of Washington, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity, and later moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism.
He worked in Los Angeles in newspaper and public relations writing. In addition to other types of news reporting, he interviewed several movie stars of the day, including Mickey Rooney, Lana Turner and Loretta Young. More importantly, an assignment arranged by a match-making editor led him to interview a young woman, Barbara Challenor, who was returning from teaching abroad and would later become his wife. Moving quickly to out-maneuver another young gentleman, Pete Rozelle, who would later become the long-time commissioner of the National Football League, he married Barbara in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed glass Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Later, wanting to teach, he moved with his wife and children to Washington state and returned to Centralia College where for more than 20 years he taught written and oral communication, including composition, journalism and public speaking, and also advised the student newspaper staff. He spent several summers during those years as a U.S. Forestry Service ranger of a park on the Hood Canal, providing idyllic summers for his family.
He retired with his wife to Los Angeles to be near their daughter. There, he was a docent for years at the home of Los Angeles pioneer Charles Lummis. He also served as the editor of several organizations’ publications. His primary joy during those years was spending much time with his grandchildren.
After more than 20 years in Los Angeles, he returned to his beloved Pacific Northwest. He lived independently in Bellevue, Washington until his final days. He still drove and essentially taught his youngest grandchild to drive. He remained energetic, curious, open-minded, humorous and appreciative of all the good in life and, thus, was a joy to be around.
He is survived by his daughter April McGandy Evans and son-in-law Godfrey Evans of Bellevue and grandchildren Ariel Evans Harmon, Austin Evans, Jameson Evans and AnaMarie Evans, all of Los Angeles, as well as many loving nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded by his wife Barbara, his son Eric McGandy and all three of his siblings, Robert “Bob” McGandy, Betty McGandy Hawkins and Barbara McGandy Hays, all formerly of Chehalis.
His ashes commingled with those of wife Barbara will be spread over their much loved Puget Sound. He requested no memorial be held, acknowledging that good health in his final years had allowed him to enjoy many gatherings with friends and family, often with his favorites of clam chowder and a gin martini with three olives. It being hard, however, to fully honor his request that no memorial be held, a small memorial for family was held in 2019.