On August 15, my dear hubby sailed into the sunset after fighting off pneumonia for over two weeks, just shy of his 85th birthday. We met in 1964, married in 1965 and moved to Brookings soon after.
Not only do I miss him incredibly, but 6 children, 14 grands and a number of great-grands and still growing are going to miss his booming presence. Add to that his sisters and families, cousins, friends and fellow fishers, his faithful dog Dirk and many more.
We will celebrate his life on Friday, August 25th. Viewing for those who want will be at Redwood Memorial from 10-11am. Rosary will be recited at Star of the Sea Catholic Church at 12:30pm, followed by funeral Mass at 1pm and informal reception after at the parish hall around 2pm. Come and join us as you can.
Burial will be, per his wishes, at Ward Memorial Cemetery, high on the hill overlooking the ocean where he spent most his life commercial fishing.
Like the song says, Bill Goergen lived hard, died hard, and left beautiful memories. A native Oregonian, he lived and attended schools in McMinnville, Roseburg and Port Orford, and then lived in Coos Bay before settling in the early 60’s in Brookings. However, that doesn’t count all the fishing towns up and down the Pacific, chasing tuna, crab, bottom fish, shrimp, black cod, salmon and more.
After graduating from Pacific High School in Port Orford, Bill majored in Business at Oregon State University, then worked various jobs including fishing, before enlisting in the U.S. Army in the early 60’s, serving in the electronics field in Germany. After returning home in 1964, he took his Army savings and purchased the fishing vessel “Takli”, going back to his first love on the sea. Author Salvadore Genoves once said “…there are three kinds of men: those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who go to sea,” Commercial fishermen in those days fit that example, especially Willy the Fox, so named by his fellow fishermen in his early Port Orford days. His wife Peggy and eventually 6 children fit into that life running up and down the coast with camping gear and kids piled into the car to wherever Dad was delivering his catch.
After fishing the “Takli” for a number of years, Bill set his sights on the “Karen”, a multi-purpose boat that let him expand into drag and shrimp fishing. The family was well settled into the home they still occupy in Brookings, so life expanded into school and sports activities.
In the early 90’s, a group of fishermen formed a partnership to take on the lack of ice needed to expand fishing trips and marketing. Bill led the way to finding grants and loans to build the facility that became Harbor Ice and still serves the fishing industry at the port. Issues in seafood marketing led the group to also lease a facility at the Harbor to sell their own products. Bill went back to school to gain the skills required to process and license their catches. What became Chetco Seafood Co. expanded to include a seafood market and small restaurant. Gradually Bill bought out the other partners, and the business became a buyer for fish brought in by small local boats, providing fresh product for the business. When he retired, the business changed hands to his son and his partner and exists today as Catalyst Seafood.
Bill’s life was filled not only with business, but also his children’s activities and his love of hunting in all forms. Trips to Eastern Oregon for big game alternated with bird hunting with his well-loved dogs. He especially enjoyed trap shooting and reloading his own ammo. He and wife Peggy tried to get away each year for a vacation to special places in Hawaii, Mexico, or to visit family. As the family expanded with grandchildren and then great-grandchildren, and expanded again with special groups of friends, Christmas, holidays and camping trips up the Chetco were well attended and exciting events.
Bill was preceded by his parents, Leo and Louise Goergen, brother Richard (Dick) Goergen, son Michael Goergen, and a great number of family and friends, including his fellow fishermen. He is survived by his wife Peggy and children: Terese Britt and daughter Amie’s family; Bryan (Tammie) Goergen and sons Mark, Daniel and Christian and families; Anella (Tony Gaffke) Ehlers and sons Adam and Izak and families; Willy (Mandi) Goergen and children Jessie, Andrew, Hannah and families; and granddaughters Cnaushua Madere, Chanda Sollinger and daughter Corinna; his sisters Donna (Ron) Terzenbach and children Penny and Aaron; Patsy Gunther and son Eddie and family; nephews Todd and Matt Goergen and mother Bethna and families; and much loved cousins also survive as well as all of Peggy’s family, which became his family too. In addition, there are a great number of friends who are family, especially all those that called him Grampa.
Services were held at Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Brookings with the assistance of Redwood Memorial Chpel. Memorials may be made in his name to his favorite charities: Wounded Warrior Project, St. Jude’s Hospital for Children or Catholic Charities, USA.