NASELLE — John Bergquist, icon of Naselle, Washington, passed away peacefully at his home on Sept. 21, 2020, at 94 years of age. John was born in a farmhouse on the bank of Salmon Creek on November 9, 1925. John spent his early years in a cabin built by his father in Toonerville logging camp.
A member of the Greatest Generation, John enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the end of his junior year at Naselle High School. He was an anti-aircraft gunner, defending his ship the USS Munda from the enemy Kamikaze Attacks in World War II. Returning from war, John married June Long.
John went to work in the woods for Deep River Logging. The couple later adopted and raised David and Cathy. Using his GI Bill, John attended vocational school in southern Oregon and received training in auto body and fender repair as well as auto painting. In 1973, John bought a body shop in Naselle and was in business for 15 years.
For many years John was a member of the Congregational Church where he served as an Usher and Trustee. John also was a member of the American Legion faithfully for 75 years. He served 34 years with the Naselle Fire Department. John would get emergency calls from his home day and night. He would use his wrecker from the body shop to rescue auto accidents. John was renowned for his skills at the autobody shop and painting vehicles.
The smell of fresh cut logs being trucked by his shop lured him back to the woods. John and Chuck Torppa went into partnership together and created and operated C&J Logging Corporation along with Doug Sandel and Rod Smith. C&J is said to be the last outfit to have logged on Long Island.
John is known locally as Johnny, close friends and neighbors also called John the Chief. After 68 years of marriage, his wife June passed away on Christmas Eve 2014. John leaves behind his son and daughter; five grandkids; and four great-grandkids. John always got a kick out of his grandkids, especially his great-grandkids when they came to visit him.
Because of covid-19, a small memorial gathering will be held at John’s home in Naselle on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.