Obituary of Donald Edward Power
Death comes in all different ways. On May 9th, it came quietly, peacefully, to claim the body of eighty-four year old Don Power.
Don was many things. Family man: husband to Mary Jean Brady, father of Joel (Tele Aadsen partner in love and Nerka Sea Frozen), and Ashley Brady-Power and Diane Miller; brother to David(Kathy); uncle to Phillip, Arthur, and Damien; friend to all. Fisherman: Nerka Don, Skipper Emeritus of the F/V Nerka. Fish-seller: direct marketing pioneer, sharing his family’s catch to salmon lovers across the country through their business, Nerka Sea Frozen Salmon.
Trained as a scientist, Don reveled in the beauty of the natural world. He loved to travel. Whether embarking on a month-long road trip through the Southwest, a quest to witness a solar eclipse in Greece, or a day drive to look for birds at Semiahmoo, he and Mary Jean shared over forty years of adventures by land and sea.
Like many men of his generation, emotional expressions didn’t come easily to Don. When words failed, he sought less clumsy mediums to convey his feelings, in gifts of good food, art, and classical music. He loved supporting local restaurants, talking with chefs, inevitably interrogating them on where their salmon came from and offering a gift fish from the Nerka. He was equally delighted to see a play in Seattle, Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach series, or films at Bellingham’s Pickford Theater. A lifelong dork, Don was an unapologetic enthusiast of dad jokes.
Don was a teller of stories. As his health and memory declined over the past decade, the stories he most wanted to share were from his youth: rocks climbed, mountains skied, caves explored. He was proud to have completed the Haute Route, a 100-mile ski traverse from Chamonix, France, to Zermatt, Switzerland, and climbed Italy’s Dolomites, especially Tre Cime. Closer to home, he took great joy in adventures such as the Ptarmigan Traverse, his belief that he was among the first party to summit Mount Shuksan in the winter, and being one of five generations to summit Mount Rainier. These proved among his life’s pinnacle experiences, and Don seized every opportunity to revisit them.
While the young man starring in the stories might have been a stranger from the elder telling them, the same thirst for life drove both. Even as Don endured increasing physical pain, his will to live never faltered. He didn’t get bogged down in what he couldn’t do. Sitting in his chair with an equally frail cat in his lap, savoring a bowl of ice cream while celebrating the spring return of black-headed grosbeaks at the feeder and sunset over Rosario Strait, he found moments of joy everywhere.
As Don’s family and friends grieve his absence, we strive to follow his example, seeking comfort and joy in stories. If you’d like to contribute your memories of Don for a memorial service to be held in the fall, we invite you to share here or through Nerka Sea Frozen Salmon’s Facebook page. If you’d like to do something in honor of Don’s memory, consider these suggestions:
* Eat wild salmon. Friends don’t let friends eat farmed fish!
* Amuse yourself: tell corny jokes with glee.
* If you smoke, quit.
* Climb a mountain.
* Don’t hold your anger in. Yell and curse, but only in the engine room.
* Share the pleasure of eating. Cook for the people you love.
* Ask for help if you need it. Allow others the chance to show you compassion. Practice receiving it.
* If you have an opportunity to tell a story – do.
* Walk. However slow your pace, whatever your discomfort, keep moving forward.
* Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.
* Moments of joy are everywhere. Whatever your physical limitations, find the good wherever you are.
* If you love someone, tell them.