James Simkins

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman

James Simkins

James Simkins

James Simkins, a Woodinville resident who opened Willows Lodge hotel and helped shape the wine industry in western Washington, died Jan. 16, 2015 after battling cancer for a year and a half.
As the general manager of Willows Lodge, Simkins helped build the hotel in 2000 and convinced in-house restaurant The Herbfarm to locate there. Simkins was general manager until 2004, but was heavily involved in the hotel until his retirement in 2014.

Jim Treadway, the managing director at Bardessono Hotel and Spa in California, who worked with Simkins for decades, described him as “one of my closest friends, one of the greatest hoteliers to live…He made a lot of people’s lives and hotels better.”

Simkins and Treadway met in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1972. Treadway was helping build a hotel and was responsible for coordinating the furniture and fixtures. He hired Simkins, then a university student, and four of his friends as temporary labor to install 80 chandeliers.

“I was amazed at this guy,” Treadway recalled. “I ended up needing an assistant full time.” For the next two and a half years, Simkins worked as Treadway’s assistant in a variety of hotel positions. Simkins went on to work at hotels throughout the world.

Their paths crossed again when Simkins joined Treadway’s management company, MGM Luxury Lodging in Kirkland, which operated Willows Lodge, as a partner in 2000. During his time at Willows Lodge, Simkins quietly helped the western Washington wine industry grow.

Treadway said Simkins’ legacy is evident in the fact that this month, Willows Lodge was named the best hotel in Washington state by Business Insider magazine.
Simkins is survived by his wife Val, his daughter Kathryn, his son Jonathan and his grandson Thomas.

Virgil M. Albright

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Obit Albright

Virgil M. Albright

Virgil Albright passed away Dec. 2 at the age of 87. He is survived by his wife, Marian; son and daughter, Susan Nelson and Tom Albright; Pete Nelson, son-in-law; his grandchildren, Stacy Albright, Troy Beachler, Jeff Albright, Devon Madden; and great-grandchildren, Layne and Vaughn McAuliffe and Theus and Ellie Madden.

Virg lived in Woodinville for over 60 years and owned his own excavating company, General Trenching & Excavating. He did excavation in Seattle, Everett and locally, including dredging the Sammamish Slough. He had a cabin at Ocean Shores and loved bringing his family and friends to enjoy the ocean. He loved fishing in Alaska and Canada. He built his own home, cabin and just about anything else he could envision. He had many interests and was always surprising his family with his next project. He created a beautiful yard with fruit trees and a pond. He started rebuilding a 1934 Ford Pickup when he was in his 80s. He was a generous person that was always ready to help a friend or family.
Never were the words, “They don’t make men like this anymore” more true.

He left a big hole in our hearts and will be deeply missed. A Celebration of Life is to be held on his birthday, Feb. 17 at the Hollywood School House at 1 p.m.

Ivan John Fry

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Ivan John Fry of Woodinville passed away Dec. 15, 2014 at age 77. Ivan was born on March 3, 1937 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the second son of Thomas and Mary Fry. He grew up in Tacoma where he won many awards during his participation in Future Farmers of America. He attended Franklin Pierce High school. Ivan lived in Tacoma for several years with his first wife Betty and raised three sons. Ivan later moved to Woodinville where he married Helen and raised his son Rod.

Ivan was a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, where he taught his sons to enjoy the outdoors as much as he did. He and his sons spent many hours planning and participating in hiking, camping and fishing trips with the Boy Scouts. Ivan also shared his love of hunting with his boys. He worked as a maintenance engineer for several different industries, repairing and maintaining all sorts of equipment. He was a master at his trade. If something could be repaired Ivan knew how to do it.

He loved sharing his passion for hunting and fishing with his family and friends. Ivan never met a stranger.

He is preceded in death by his wife Helen, his mother Mary, his father Tom and his brothers Ray and Jerry. He is survived by his sister Dona, his sons John, Jerry, Jim and Rod, and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and so many friends.

The family suggests remembrances to the Boy Scouts of America.

Robert Leroy Unger

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Robert Leroy Unger
July 31, 1934 – Dec. 6, 2014

Unger ObitBob peacefully passed away after a battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 80 years old.
In 1934, he was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He moved to Portland at the age of 9, with his mother, after the death of his young father. Bob lived in North Portland and attended Roosevelt High School, where he was a cheerleader and ran track. He graduated in 1952.

Bob worked for Frito Lay, Inc. for 26 years, until his retirement in 1989, from a regional manager position. During that time he and his family lived in Portland, Boise, Spokane and the Seattle suburb of Bothell.

Bob had many hobbies, but his favorite was being around classic cars and swap meets. So much so, he and his wife began a family business in the mid-70’s called Western Corvette Supply. Western Corvette Supply sold parts, all over the world, for customers’ restoration projects. In addition they had booths in swap meets all over the United States. Bob also enjoyed buying and re-selling cars.

He will always be remembered for his caring personality and the love he had for his family and friends. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Nancy Unger, his daughter Shannon King, son-in-law Mark King and grandsons Riley and Reece King.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations, in Bob Unger’s name, to the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation: Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, New York, New York 10163-4777.

Services were held at Deschutes Memorial Chapel in Bend, Oregon on Monday, Dec. 15. Bob was laid to rest at Douglass Pioneer Cemetery in Troutdale, Oregon on Tuesday, Dec. 16.
Deschutes Memorial Chapel in Bend, Oregon is entrusted with Bob’s arrangements. Please visit to leave an online condolence for the family.

Gerald (Jerry) Olmstead Jr.

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Gerald (Jerry) Olmstead Jr.
Dec. 25, 1962-Dec. 6, 2014

Olmstead ObitGerald (Jerry) Olmstead Jr. was fatally injured in a traffic accident on Dec. 6, 2014. Jerry was born on Dec. 25, 1962 in Seattle, Wash. He is survived by his wife, Paullette Olmstead; son, Jay; daughter, Tabitha Autry; father, Gerald Sr. and step-mother Gloria; mother, Judy Riley and step-father Kenneth Riley; sisters, Teresa Olmstead of Mill Creek and Tina Anderson and husband Mark of Mountlake Terrace; brother, Rob Olmstead and wife Grace of Denver, Colo.; mother and father-in-law Vic and Linda Tate of Baker City, Ore. and nieces and nephews.

Jerry served in the U.S. Navy and was employed on a processing ship in the Bering Sea for 19 years. He loved his family and friends, the great outdoors, life and welding and fabricating metal yard art. He enjoyed repairing cars for his wife, son, brother and sisters and anyone who may need help. Jerry graduated from Meadowdale High School in Edmonds, Wash. and the last 5 years has been an employee at Everett Community College as a grounds maintenance technician. Services are pending for a later date.