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In Memory of Everett :: Celebrating a Well-Lived and Well-Loved Life

I had the privilege of photographing a memorial for a dear friend, Everett, over the past weekend (pictured on the right below). There are probably not enough good, joyful words in this world to describe how truly cheerful, pleasant and kind Everett was to all who knew him. I have had the good fortune of adopting both Ben, my immediate neighbor, pictured left, and Everett (right) as grandpa’s and friends since I moved into this neighborhood. Everett lived just two blocks from Ben and me. He and Ben would regularly get together, having spent many years together in their youth working for AT&T back when it was Bell. The two of them are responsible for probably nearly all of North Seattle’s (and beyond) telephone poles! Wow, together they could tell some stories!

Although Ben and Everett saw each other at times daily, I was fortunate enough to have them both present regularly for dinners at my house. They would pretend to barely get by, or not be able to bake a potato, and so of course we had to keep them fed. Mostly I think they made me feel good about going to the effort of preparing a proper dinner (which usually only happens around here with guests anyways!), and little did they know that I was truly getting the greater gift – their joyful presence.

I will never forget Everett’s joy, his stories (and amazing story-telling capabilities!), and the way he fidgeted with his hands, folding the corner of the place mats or napkins up while he talked, then smoothing them back out, over and over, like a musical beat that accompanied his melody. I thoroughly enjoyed how ALL OF HIM helped tell each story.

Heather Pearce Photography seattle portrait photographer

Everett passed away a handful of months ago now, but his family just recently held his memorial at Greenlake, where they had previously planted a tree in honor of their mother, who I never had the pleasure of knowing, but always heard tremendously wonderful things about. They rededicated the tree in honor of Everett as well, and though Everett apparently had asked not to have a service, I think somewhere he would have to acknowledge even to himself that it was lovely and perfect in every way (for those of us who attended and celebrated his life). The service, after all, really is for the living.

There were some fabulous stories told by his family. There were countless smiles and hugs. There were many greetings between former neighbors who had the good fortune of living within a few doors of Everett and his wife, who told amazing stories of friendship and kindness. There was laughter, too (including over the beer set on the grass, like another attendee at the service), and some tears. Cool weather, but no rain, and overall a fabulous gathering of people who adored this man.

I am so glad to have known him. And I am honored that his family allowed me to photograph this celebration of his life. When I think back on my own great-grandmother, and grandparents, I cherish every memory – the way my Grandma Erickson made the BEST grilled cheese sandwich, the way I waited forever as a little kid for Grandma Chytraus’ cuckoo clock to go cuckoo, the way Grandpa Pearce’s bear rug on the wall reminded me always of his story-telling and fabulous cowboy life. Even the spoon collection like the one below, I miss. I cherish it all.

I hope you enjoy this collection of images, all in celebration of Everett {and his family}.

Seattle family portrait photographer

Anila S. - November 23, 2013 - 5:01 am

Just beautiful Heather. What special friends who provided truly meaningful relationships. Everett seems amazing, and Ben too!

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