PORTLAND - Carl Wilbur Stucki passed from this life on Aug. 2, 2007, in Portland, Ore. He was born Otto Ruegger on March 17, 1923, on a family homestead on Parrot Mountain in Newburg, Ore. His father, a merchant seaman, disappeared and the seven children (Carl was the second youngest) were placed in the Boys and Girls Aid Society in Portland. In approximately 1930, Gottfried and Martha Stucki of Sandy, Ore adopted him.
Mr. Stucki graduated from Sandy High School and then attended Oregon State University. In 1943 he was drafted. Before attending boot camp, he applied for pilot training. While in pilot training in 1945 he married Manerva (Minnie) May McMillen who he met at Oregon State. He graduated from Florida State University in 1957 and received a Master's Degree in International Affairs in 1965 from George Washington University, Washington D.C.
The Stuckis purchased the McMillen family home near the Astoria bridge in 1969. Shortly after settling his family in Chinook, Mr. Stucki left to pilot AC-47s gunships in Vietnam. He flew 92 combat missions and had the unusual honor of flying the last AC-47 combat mission in Vietnam. After returning from Vietnam, he was the aircraft maintenance squadron commander at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma. During his 30-year air force career, he flew 27 different aircraft. He retired from the air force as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1972.
His wife, who wanted to stay in the Long Beach area, selected his second career. The perfect fit was for her to be the director of nurses and for him to be the administrator of Oceanview Convalescent Center in Long Beach. They expanded and operated the business until 1983.
He was on the school board for six years and served as chairman. He was active in the Ilwaco-Long Beach Kiwanis for 30 years and swerved twice as president. Additionally, he started the Kiwanis Hospital Equipment Lending Service, which provides medical equipment to anyone in need, free of cost. He collected the donated equipment, managed the storage facility and distributed the medical equipment for 26 years.
Mr. Stucki was well known for his fruit tree grafting talent and willingly shared his expertise with many friends and neighbors in Pacific County. This hobby started when he found wild apple trees while clearing brush on his property. Since the apple didn't taste good, he applied his lifetime philosophy - "Don't fight the problem, fix it!" He cut off the branches that bore inferior fruit and replaced them with branches that would bear good fruit. He grafted as many as 16 different varieties of apples on some of his trees. His success tweaked the interest of a Washington State University research director who visited the orchard on two occasions to see what was going on.
Survivors include his four children: Colonel (ret.) Carla Stucki-Amerau of Alexandria, Va.; Dan Stucki of Long Beach; Jan Erickson of Portland, Ore.; and Rebecca Stucki of Aberdeen; and five grandchildren, Tom Stucki, Jake Erickson, Brittany Amerau, Bo Kay Erickson and Colin Amerau.
His life will be celebrated at a memorial service and gathering on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 1 p.m., at the Peninsula Church Center in Seaview. His remains are to be interred with his wife's at Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the program he personally nurtured for 26 years the Hospital Equipment Fund, Ilwaco-Long Beach Kiwanis, P.O. Box 155, Seaview, WA 98644.
Arrangements are by Penttila's Chapel by the Sea, Long Beach.