Walter Janicki, who has died peacefully in his home at age 88 filled with grace and prayers, was a husband, father, engineer, and logger a stanchion of his family's heritage in Skagit Valley whose charm and unwavering joy, coupled with a methodical commitment to his work, influenced everyone he encountered. He was born April 23, 1932, to Stanley and Hedwig Janicki, in the small town of Clear Lake, Washington. Walking cows back home many miles in the dark was a chore Walt was accustomed to as a young boy of ten siblings. His Polish-immigrant parents' homestead was as scalable to him as the nearby creaks and hills he would eventually build bridges across, reaching every contour of land in the Mt. Baker wilderness now known by map. From a young age, Walt worked at the Cedar Crest Shake Mill, founded by his father in 1937. There he learned to split sturdy shakes from larger rounds of wood to be used on houses, eventually gaining local renown in the craft at the age of 19 when he won the "World Champion Shake Splitting" prize at the Cascade Days festival. The next stages of his career would fall similarly, expertly, into place like one perfect cedar shake after the next: earning a degree in civil engineering at Seattle University, conducting topographic surveying in Alaska for the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and working for MorrisonKnudsen and H.K. Ferguson in New York. While studying at Seattle University, Walt met the love of his life, Marion, whom he married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Bellevue, Washington, in 1956. They would be married for 62 years until Marion's passing in 2018. After New York, Walt was offered a high-profile position constructing a 20,000-kilowatt thermal generating facility on the Mediterranean coast in Tripoli, Libya, which he readily accepted both as an energizing work prospect and as an opportunity to travel the world with Marion, and especially to Lebanon, Marion's family's homeland. The power plant project, which more than doubled the electrical output of its adjoining station, found Walt spectating at camel races and dining with sheikhs. Near the end of his time in Libya, H.K. Ferguson offered Walt a new position of higher value and larger scale in South America, but he declined the job so that he could reunite with his brother Stan, who was married to Marion's sister, Annie. Walt returned to Sedro-Woolley in 1961. He became co-founder of his brother's newly established Janicki Logging Company. They were educated loggers, leveraging their civil engineering acumen with a mind toward innovation instilled in them by their parents; when they didn't get the timber sale, they got the road jobs. Awareness of the land tempered all of their work. Walt and his brother grew to know the forests of their youth better than most and advocated for their proper use, offering incisive help in times of crisis. When the Skagit River would flood, Janicki Logging Company was there with equipment to stem the rising water. Kids would be excused from school to lend a hand filling sandbags. Love of nature flowed quite naturally for Walt from his deep Catholic faith, having been taught in simple ways by his parents and Catholic sisters, and more complex ways by Jesuit priests at Seattle University, that God's order and design was in every natural phenomenon and critter he was in awe to witness. Telling stories of his adventures in his work and personal life out in God's creation would become hallmarks of Walt's legacy to his family, daily remembrances being passed down through the generations, siring folklore and communicating the interconnectedness of life where he lived. Walt and Marion raised their family in Sedro-Woolley for nearly 30 years. In 1993, Walt retired from logging and passed operations of the company to his nephews. Today, fourth-generation Janicki descendants run Janicki Logging Company with great success, educating and guiding customers through the process of valuing their timber and sustainably managing their land. With family growth, Walt and Marion moved south to Woodinville, and then Bellevue, Marion's birthplace, where they spent increasing time with kids and grandkids. Walt is survived by his sister Veronica Van Dyke; his five children Annie, Steven, Catherine, Tom, Margo, and their spouses; 15 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. The rosary and funeral Mass will be held at St. Monica Catholic Church on Mercer Island, Washington, on January 9. The rosary starts at 10:15 and the Catholic Mass at 11:00. Guests are invited to attend the viewing from 11:00 to 3:00 at Sunset Hills Funeral Home, Bellevue, WA. There will be a live-stream of the Rosary and Funeral Mass at this link: Stories may be shared through Sunset Hills Funeral Home at the following link:

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