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Duane Uusitalo: 1943-2023


On April 6, 2023, this world lost a truly good soul, Duane Uusitalo, man of veracity and integrity, who knew himself and enjoyed the company of others. Born in Duluth, Minnesota, on October 7, 1943 to Vilho and Taimi Uusitalo, he leaves behind a sister, Virginia Uusitalo-Rogers, and brother Arlen Uusitalo, both of Green Valley, Arizona.

In the early '50s, the family of five moved to the Kitsap Peninsula, where he spent his formative years. Duane grew up playing sports (especially basketball and baseball), roaming the local creeks and beaches of the Poulsbo area, and during this time, Uusitalo developed a passion and joy for salmon and trout that lived in these small streams.

He also enjoyed music of the times ...rock 'n' roll, jazz, blues and POLKA. His proud Finnish heritage demanded that he learn accordion, and he enjoyed playing songs from the Old Country, especially Sauna songs.

Duane attended North Kitsap High School (Class of '61), then Olympic College, where he met Norma Clark ("a really good dancer who could keep up with me"). Duane and Norma continued their education at Central Washington State College, married, started a family with son Paul, and graduated with Education degrees in 1965.

They both took teaching positions in Prosser that Fall, where Mr. U taught science at Prosser Junior High and coached basketball. 1967 brought Duane and his young family to Edmonds and to Meadowdale Junior High, where he taught several different science classes there until his retirement in 1997. Daughter Kelly was born in Everett in 1969.

One of his proudest achievements was founding his Salmonids classes. Mr. Uusitalo was one of the first science teachers in the area to raise salmon from eggs in a classroom aquarium. His students watched daily as the little fingerlings grew. When they were strong enough to leave the aquarium, he took his classes on field trips to selected creeks/watersheds in the local area where students would carefully release these fingerlings into nurturing streams.

After retirement, Duane continued his love of fish and fishing, working with several local residents to rear salmon near the headwaters of Lund's Gulch Creek. This stream, which flows through Meadowdale County Park, received a large share of the fish raised by Mr. Uusitalo over the past 45 years.

He was a productive sport salmon fisherman also and landed many salmon in Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington waters. He often mused about raising thousands of them from eggs and then putting "just a few" adult salmon in the freezer.

Mr. Uusitalo leaves his wife of 58 years, Norma in Bellingham, a sister Virginia, and her long-time partner, Dick James, plus brother Arlen and wife Cate.

He will also be missed by son Paul Uusitalo (Michele) and their children August and Claire plus daughter Kelly (Mike Hernandez) and grandson, Quinten.

A memorial for Duane will be held on JULY 23, Lynndale Park Amphitheater at 1 PM. Address: 18927 72nd W. 98036. You are invited to make a tax deductible donation in memory of Duane Uusitalo to Sound Salmon Solutions, PO Box 1111, Mukilteo, WA 98275 or go to their website for a donation via credit card at Sound Salmon Solutions.

He touched the lives of countless friends, students and colleagues over his 79 years. Would that this World had more souls such as Duane Uusitalo.