Longtime Bainbridge Islander and Pacific Northwest hunting and fishing advocate James “Jim” Walganski, died Feb. 27 at his home in Snohomish at age 81.
He had lived near his granddaughter, Teresa Edwards, and her husband, Ernie, for several years.
He was born Sept. 13, 1910, in Eagledale on Bainbridge Island to a Latvian father and a Swedish mother. His father’s parents were Russian.
Jim Walganski attended Bainbridge schools and went on to Gonzaga University in Spokane where he played on the football team in the ’30s. He loved the Bainbridge Spartans and the Gonzaga Bulldogs and followed all their sports activities.
Jim married Georgia Mary Weingartner of Blaine, Wash. They lived many years at Crystal Springs in the old Captain Gibson house and from there they started the island’s first garbage pick-up service. Their company grew island-wide with three trucks and six workers on the crew.
For many years the family operated the Washington State Liquor store in Winslow. Later, he worked as a real estate agent.
A longtime hunter and fisherman, he was active in the Bainbridge Island Sportsman’s Club, the Kitsap Sports Council, and served as president of the Washington State Sportsman’s Council. He led the effort locally and statewide to provide for volunteer youth firearm safety programs
He was one of the first in the state to recognize the damage done to salmon runs by the construction of large dams on our rivers. He spent many hours in testifying to the legislature about the damage dams were inflicting upon natural resources and led a successful campaign to protect the Cowlitz River from dams.
While living and working on the island, he strongly supported youth sports activities including Little League, Babe Ruth League, and Bainbridge Island School sports activities.
His wife, Georgia, and daughter, Barbara, preceded him in death. He is survived by his daughter Susan of Seattle, son Mike and daughter-in-law Gail, of Christchurch, New Zealand; and numerous grandchildren.
No services will be held. Remembrances may be made to the Youth Firearm Safety programs of the Bainbridge Island Sportsmen’s Club, 8203 Sportsman Club Road.