April 20, 1925 ~ June 9, 2015
Steve Memovich passed away Tuesday night at his home in Vancouver, WA. He was born to Stephen and Alma Memovich in a one-room house on a dry-land farm near Buckingham, CO. His family moved to Bonneville, OR in 1937. While attending Stevenson High School, he met the love of his life, Marilyn Burke. They graduated with the class of '43, and Steve immediately answered his country's call to service. Steve and Marilyn were married in Texas, just a few months before Steve departed for the war in Europe.
In September of 1944, while Steve and his crew were headed to Scotland by way of Iceland in a B-17, they were caught in a terrible blizzard and crash landed on a glacier, with their plane breaking in two and the engine catching fire. Miraculously, they all survived the crash. A couple days later they ultimately descended the glacier and straggled into a farm house where they spent the night before returning to the base, and continuing their journey to England. Steve continued to serve as a navigator of a B-17 Flying Fortress of the 452nd Bombardment Group, completing his 35 missions in what was considered one of the toughest theaters of aerial warfare. In June 1945, Steve's father passed away and he was able to return home for the funeral in Portland. He then reported to San Diego to complete his active duty service.
After the war, Steve and Marilyn lived in Missoula, MT, where Steve attended law school. They finally settled in Vancouver in 1957 as Steve joined the firm of Robinson, Morse and Landerholm. He became a partner and practiced law in Vancouver for the next 35 years. Steve genuinely enjoyed helping people solve
their legal problems, and seemed to earn the
respect and affection of anybody he worked with.
He and Marilyn were both active in the Vancouver community and Columbia Presbyterian Church. They both enjoyed playing golf and bridge, and were enthusiastic sports fans, rooting for the home team (Blazers, Seahawks, Little League, any team their kids or grandkids were linked to). They loved to travel, and one of their most memorable trips was to return to Europe in 1994 for the 50-year D-Day anniversary cruise.
In 2004, Steve, Marilyn and their four adult children experienced the rare treat of returning to Iceland, visiting the glacier and hearing the story of the crash landing from 60 years ago. The receding ice had been revealing the plane fragments and its contents, including an engraved bracelet Steve had been wearing that had been a gift from Marilyn before he left. The people who lived near the crash site were gracious hosts, taking the family up near the crash site in two search and rescue vehicles. Steve looked out over the landscape, down into the valley and kept saying, "There must have been an angel on my shoulder.".
Marilyn passed away in February 2011, leaving Steve devastated. But he kept going, remaining engaged with his community at Orchards Village (now Brookdale) and enjoying visits with friends and family.
Steve is survived by his sisters, Iris Turk of Grants Pass, OR and Peggy Schultz of Stevenson, WA; his daughters, Terri (Mike) Bull of Longview, Mary (Dick) Thompson of Vancouver, and Laura Wilkinson of Vancouver; son, Greg Memovich (Karen Fusco) of Silverdale, WA; twelve grandchildren; and twelve great-grandchildren.
The family is deeply grateful to the loving staff and residents of Orchards Village who kept his spirits up and enjoyed his spunk and humor for the past six years. And especially to Marie of Southwest Hospice who supported the family during both Marilyn and then Steve's final months.
His memorial will be on Sat., June 20th at 12:30 p.m. at Evergreen Memorial Gardens with a reception to follow at Royal Oaks Country Club.
Please make a contribution in his name to the "Memovich Scholarship Fund of the Southwest Washington Community Foundation."
Please sign his guest book at: www.columbian.com/obits