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Verdie Ray Querin passed away peacefully on March 20, 2019 in the presence of his loving wife of more than 62 years, Janice F. (Bolz) Querin. Verdie was born in the winter of 1932 in Medford, Wisconsin to Andrew and Caroline Querin. He was the fifth of nine children, and was preceded in death by his siblings Leo, Lawrence, Floyd, and Angeline. He is survived by his younger siblings Gene, Ted, Jerry, and Jim. Each of these Querin family members were educated in the same one-room schoolhouse in Medford. Verdie’s job during the winter was to haul firewood and build the fire in the pot-bellied stove, the only source of heat for the school during the cold Wisconsin winters.
Verdie was the first of the Querin family to graduate from college, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin. This was a great individual accomplishment for Verdie, coming against the expressed wishes of his father, Andrew, who would have much preferred Verdie’s help on the family farm. On many occasions, Andrew would see Verdie studying hard for a high school test, shake his head and grumble with a frown “High school...”
Born during the depths of the Great Depression, Verdie understood the importance of learning how to repair broken items to extend their life. Through his entire life, Verdie was hesitant to toss any item that might one day be of use. He was an incredible self-taught carpenter, plumber, electrician, upholsterer, auto mechanic, and welder, among many other skills. As a teenager in the 1940’s he taught himself the fundamentals of electricity, then installed wiring, lights, and electrical outlets in the family home. Throughout his life he very rarely hired a professional to perform a task, knowing that his keen mind, ability to learn, and extraordinary work ethic would always bring a better, faster, less expensive result. Verdie’s home was decorated with beautiful handcrafted furniture, along with carefully restored items acquired after his renters left them behind.
Although Verdie always had a full-time career with organizations including Firestone, Boeing, and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, he devoted a significant portion of his off-work hours to acquiring, repairing and maintaining an ever-growing real estate portfolio. During his peak real estate years, Verdie and Jan managed nearly 20 different real estate properties. Although his sons were lukewarm to the idea of spending evenings and weekends assisting with clean-up and repair of these properties, the skills Verdie passed on to them have proven to be invaluable. Additionally, with the steady increase in property values in the Pacific Northwest, Verdie’s hard work was ultimately rewarded in allowing Verdie and Jan to enjoy a comfortable retirement.
Verdie served his country in the US Military, first as a member of the Wisconsin National Guard, and then as a member of the US Army, where he spent nearly two years in Korea de-coding encrypted teletype transmissions. In December of 1957 Verdie received one important message that read “Please inform PFC Verdie R. Querin that his wife has given birth to his first son, who she has named Charles Verdie Querin.” After returning to the US in 1958, Verdie and Janice moved from Medford, Wisconsin to the Seattle area, and the family added three more boys, Michael N. Querin, Randall J. Querin, and Douglas A. Querin.
In 1959 Verdie and Jan settled in the rural farming community of Kent, Washington - and Verdie set about building a home to accommodate his rapidly growing family. At the end of every long day at work, Verdie would come home, eat a fast meal, then walk over to the land he had purchased next door to work all evening building a new family home. After seven months of working hard every night and weekends, Verdie moved his wife and sons into his hand-crafted house, which the family would occupy for nearly 30 years.
Verdie’s first career job in the Seattle area was with the Boeing aerospace company, where he worked until a severe recession forced the company into layoffs. For Verdie, however, this was a blessing in disguise, as he had discovered that he was not particularly suited to Boeing’s office cubicle environment. He spent the next two years happily earning his keep through incredibly diverse methods, including (but not limited to) remodeling bathrooms, building decks, delivering phone books, and flipping cars and houses for profit. It was with great hesitation that Verdie finally consented to take on another desk job in 1972, accepting the position of Field Auditor for the State of Washington. The job turned out to be a perfect fit for him, as it allowed him to spend a little time in the office each morning, followed by a lot of time visiting businesses all over the greater Seattle area. Because Verdie loved to drive (as do all Querin men) he was very content with his career and worked with the Department of Labor and Industries through his retirement in 1993.
Although Verdie was a firm believer in the value of teaching his sons important skills and instilling in them a strong work ethic, his views toward his grandchildren were quite different. He treasured his grandchildren, and loved every minute that he spent with them, reading books, laughing, and playing games. It was a joy to see Verdie’s face light up every time one of his grandchildren would arrive for a visit. His six grandchildren (Chantale, Callie, Joseph, Jacqueline, Nicholas, and Kathryn) adored him.
Due to his strong work ethic and seemingly endless ability to find another way to make a profit, Verdie didn’t have much interest in “relaxing” and wasting time. His hobbies were often devoted to building things or learning new skills such as cooking, winemaking, creating stained glass windows, or speaking Italian.
People who got to know Verdie would discover that he was a man of principle, who would never take advantage of another person. His word was better than gold. Beyond that, Verdie set a high standard for behavior, rarely cursing (even when he hit his thumb with a hammer!) and making sure to look for the good in people. Of all Verdie’s many strong characteristics and values, perhaps his strongest is the great love he had for his wife, Janice. In all his 62 years of marriage, Verdie never once looked at another woman. He knew he had picked the very best life partner he could ever ask for and expressed that to Janice throughout their entire marriage. During his final days in the hospital, as Verdie was losing his battle with Alzheimer’s disease and his speech and motor skills were virtually gone, he was still able to look at Janice and form the words “I love you.”
Although Verdie is gone from this world physically, he will live on through his family, who proudly carry on his traits of hard work, honesty, affection, laughter, and love of family.