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William John Gasow III, 77, of Merlin, Oregon, entered eternity on February 19, 2023, while enjoying a beautiful day of skiing with his family at Mt. Ashland Ski Area.
Bill was born on December 22, 1945 to William John II and Elizabeth Gasow, in Mt Clemens, Michigan. After graduating from L’Anse Creuse High School, Bill went on to study Forestry at Michigan State University, graduating in 1969. With his degree in forestry, Bill headed west to work in the mountainous timberland of the Pacific Northwest. He began a career with the U.S. Forest Service, for whom he worked for the next 25 years. After leaving the Forest Service, Bill continued his career in private forestry consulting. He was still happily cruising timber part-time, out of pure love for the trade, during the last months of his life.
An avid outdoorsman, Bill loved all things in nature, and spent most of his time outdoors. He loved the mountains, rivers, and forests; enjoyed skiing, kayaking, rafting, hiking, camping, and hunting. He treasured his annual hunting trips to Eastern Oregon with his son, to whom he passed on his passion for forestry and the outdoors. The only thing Bill loved more than the outdoors was his family.
After moving to Oregon, Bill married Jackie (Spencer) Gasow in 1978. They remained married for 14 years, and though their relationship wasn’t permanent, it resulted in Bill’s greatest source of pride, his son, Andrew William. Bill instilled his own love of the forest and outdoors into his son, and taught him how to ski, kayak, hunt, fish, and ultimately guided him into a career path that mirrored his own. He affectionately created nicknames for his son, of which “Moose Man” remained. The phrase “a chip off the old block” explains it all.
In 1997 Bill married a second time to his beloved Susie (Geisert), who he had met and known for years during their mutual time working for the Forest Service. Susie remained his love, his rock, his support, and she kept him in line until his last day. Although they had different interests, there was no variation in their ability to create the ultimate dream lives for their dogs, Junior, Chelsea, and Callie. Bill and Susie’s personalities perfectly complemented one another, and each of them always put the others' needs ahead of their own. After living in Grants Pass and Roseburg, in 2017 they moved to Merlin where they purchased a large wooded property that Bill molded into his dream home in the woods. He kept busy managing the trees and roads, building his shop and mini wood mill, and enjoying the amazing dinners prepared by Susie while she looked out of the windows at the most gorgeous mountain views one could imagine. He was truly living his dream.
Bill was the proud Grandpa “Poppy” to his 3 grandchildren. He adored watching them grow, and was never happier than during time spent with Roger, Riese, and Madeline; especially when that time was spent playing outside in the woods or at the river bank. He loved to surprise the kids when they arrived for a visit, and dressed up in extravagant costumes including a Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, and the infamous “Egor”. His grandchildren equally adored their Poppy, who showered them with attention during visits, taught them outdoor skills, and when they were apart, frequently sent funny cards, funny custom t-shirts, and often telephoned to tell them new “Poppy jokes”. Having taught his son Andy to ski as a child on Mt. Ashland, Poppy was excited to have the opportunity to share a beautiful day on that same mountain skiing with his grandchildren; and that is how Bill spent his final day.
Bill is survived by his loving wife Susan; son Andy (Jana) Gasow of Poulsbo, WA; grandchildren Roger (13), Riese (9), and Madeline (7) Gasow; 2 sisters: Kathy (Bill) Bell of Harrison Township, MI, and Linda Skromme of San Mateo, CA; as well as cousins, nieces, and nephew and his beloved dog Callie.
Memorial services will be held at a later date, when the weather allows his life celebration to be outdoors, since we know Bill would have it no other way.
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