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Obituary for Joseph Samuel Sires

Joseph Samuel  Sires
Joe Sires was born on June 1, 1938 and he passed away in his shop on October 9th . He was born in Bellingham, Washington, to Miron and Marguerite Sires and joined his brother Ralph. When Joe was in junior high, the family settled in Ellensburg. That's when he met LV, his friend for over sixty-seven years.
Joe earned his teaching degree at Central Washington University. During that time, he was a "sleeper" at the fire department which meant he was on-call all night. It was while he was a student that his parents moved back across the Cascades to Mt. Vernon. He loved to say that he didn't move out…his parents moved away and left him.
Joe and Barbara met April 1, 1960. The next day they went on a date at the Blue Fox Drive-In. 146 days later they were married. Every year they celebrated both anniversaries.
Joe's first teaching job was at Rainier State School in Buckley. After one year, Joe applied for a job at Oak Harbor Junior High where he taught wood shop for more than a decade. In the early 70's, Joe moved up to Oak Harbor High School to teach metal shop. Starting in the early '80s Joe taught a construction class where teams built sheds that were sold each semester. He taught countless students how to sweep…“that broom is not a bulldozer."
Even though Joe had been retired from teaching for almost 30 years, he didn't go to town without a former student saying, “Hi, Mr. Sires!” While Joe was teaching, he continued his service as a volunteer firefighter for District 2.
He opened Sires Construction and proceeded to build a house each summer for quite a few years.
He was one of the few men who could build a house from start to finish including all the furniture, if that’s what you wanted.
If Joe wasn't teaching, or building a house, he was likely traveling. He towed his trailer to the east coast twice: once to Georgia and once to New York. He spent countless weekends crabbing in Anacortes at March's Point and enjoying Ft. Casey. Before GPS, Joe took his topographical maps, compass, and altimeter and hiked with his buddies to the high lakes in the Cascades,
Deer hunting on Whidbey wasn't just a sport. It was how he stretched the budget in the early years on a teacher's salary. He also hunted for elk, duck, and pheasant. Joe enjoyed everything that came from the sea: salmon, clams, crab, shrimp, smelt.
The same couple who introduced Joe and Barbara, also introduced them to the Whidbey Whirlers Square Dancing Club. One of things Joe and Barbara enjoyed with their square-dancing friends was being season ticket holders to Whidbey Playhouse…unless it was a musical, then Joe gave his ticket away as fast as he possibly could.
If you ever played a game with Joe, you probably remember that smile and belly laugh when he was winning. Joe taught anyone who was willing to learn how to play cribbage. He loved to play poker with the guys in the shop. Joe taught his children the value of Boardwalk and Park Place.
As a father, Joe was involved: Sandy and her horse, Ron with wrestling, Pam with dog 4-H. As a grandfather he enjoyed watching the grandkids’ activities: karate, plays, 4-H shows, birthdays, recitals. He could be counted on to be in the stands supporting his family.
As a son, Joe was attentive and faithful. Joe visited his mom frequently, helping her with the many decisions that came with being a young widow.
As a husband, Joe modeled integrity and devotion. If he was asked for marriage advice he would say things like "nobody said life was going to be fair" and "whatever you do, do NOT give up." Even after 58 years of marriage, he still lovingly referred to his wife as his girlfriend.
Joe was often found in a group with three generations. Grandparents, parents, and grandchildren planning projects, working, celebrating, traveling, or just enjoying a Sunday afternoon together.
When it was time to leave after an overnight visit, Joe would hug each person, say "hang in there," and then wave good bye from the porch. And now it really is good bye. The shop is dark and cold without the fire burning. The recliner is empty in the evenings. There is a Joe shaped hole in the hearts of his friends and family. We are all better people having known him. He shaped us, guided us, loved us, and now he has left us to carry on the legacy and memory of Joe Sires.
Joe is survived by his wife Barbara, his daughter Sandy (Keith) Kraha, son Ron (Lori) Sires, and daughter Pam (Todd) Brager, 13 grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. A memorial will be held November 3 at 1:30 PM at the Oak Harbor Assembly of God. In lieu of flowers please contribute to: The Sires Construction Scholarship, c/o Heritage Bank, 450 SW Bayshore Drive, Oak Harbor, WA 98277. Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com.

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