May 24, 1941 — January 27, 2018
Roger died peacefully in his Corvallis home, with his wife Becky and niece Jenny at his side and a cat on his lap.
Roger was born in Belvidere, Illinois, and then briefly resided in Farragut, Idaho and Bellingham, Washington. He attended most of grade school and all of high school in Chehalis, Washington. He was, at heart, a small-town boy, with strict ethics because his father Ralph Garrett was the principal of the local Greenhill Boy’s Reformatory!
In Roger’s senior year at W.F. West High School, he was a guard on the 1960 basketball team that won the Class A Washington State Championship title. A memorable accomplishment for this small town, never again repeated. He also ran track and played baseball at W.F. West.
Roger loved the outdoors from an early age, with Mt. Rainier not far away. He later worked there as a "seasonal" for many summers, with various outdoor jobs in his younger years and as a Park Ranger in his later years.
His last two summers as a park ranger were at Crater Lake. He looked the "classic ranger" in his Smokey Bear hat. He also spent three summers as a fire lookout in the Pacific Northwest, a time he really began to connect with nature.
Roger served four years in the Army Security Agency in Germany in the mid-sixties. He then worked in Alaska for four years as a civilian at the Air Force Anti-Ballistic Missile Site near Fairbanks, making use of his top secret Army clearance. That experience encouraged him to return to college, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1974, with a minor in Political Science. These areas of study led to a variety of interesting jobs and guided his passions.
Roger met and married his wife Rebecca (Becky) in Anchorage in 1974, and they headed next to Portland where Roger completed coursework for a master’s degree in Sociology at Portland State.
In Portland, Roger’s favorite job was with the Washington Environmental Council, where he was the regional representative in SW Washington for the Timber, Fish and Wildlife Project. He was active in many environmental groups and believed passionately in keeping wilderness areas roadless and protecting old growth forests and wildlife habitat. He was co-founder of the Mount Rainier National Park Associates advocacy group, where he served in many roles and made frequent trips to Seattle for meetings. He was active for many years in a group to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Lots of letters were written on his typewriter to legislators regarding many environmental topics.
Roger took the Mazamas Basic Climbing School with wife Becky in 1979, and he climbed 20 mountains with Mazamas. Roger and Becky climbed, hiked, XC skied, backpacked, bicycled and thoroughly enjoyed life together. A highlight was 25 years of ski trips based at the Mazama Lodge with Becky’s wonderful Good Samaritan Hospital ER workgroup. Roger was very supportive of his wife in her years of various athletic racing events, accompanying her and becoming friends with her fellow athletes and their families. They loved this kind, gentle, honest man, as did all who knew him.
After 23 years in the Portland area, in a wonderful 1918 Tigard farmhouse, this small-town boy wanted a smaller city, so he and Becky moved to Corvallis in 1997.
Roger is survived by his wife of 43 years, Rebecca (Stetz) Garrett; sister Kathleen (Garrett) Kreiss of Seattle, and her daughters Jenny Kreiss of Seattle and Alison Kreiss of Marion, Montana. He is also survived by nephew Douglas Garrett (Lisa) of Silverton; niece Nancy (Garrett) Payton (Norman) of Puyallup, Washington; and nephew Chris Garrett of Klamath Falls. Roger was also very close to Becky’s sister, Donna Harris (Nick) of Edmonton, Alberta. Other relatives and many special friends were also an important part of Roger’s life.
Roger was preceded in death by his parents Ralph E. Garrett and Alyce (Cutler) Garrett; as well as his brother Allen and sister-in-law Dorothy Garrett
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Oregon Wild (www.oregonwild.org), an organization that works passionately for many of the causes that Roger believed in.
At Roger's request, a small private family service will be held at a later date.
Restlawn Funeral Home in Salem took care of arrangements.