Almer (Al) Donald Zander, 84, died October 8, 2020 surrounded by his family at home in Bellingham, WA. He was born on May 13, 1936, in Bellingham, WA, to Almer D. Zander and Lucy T. (Harrison) Zander.
He grew up on a farm on the Smith Road, doing farm chores and helping his dad with the family’s sawmill. He graduated from Meridian High School in 1954 where he was a member of Future Farmers of America. He enjoyed playing sports in high school and at Wenatchee Valley College. He graduated from Wenatchee Valley College, Washington State University, and the University of Arizona with a Master of Science degree in Watershed Management. Al met Leona Gail Emerson when they were both students at Washington State University. They were married August 22, 1959. He worked as a Hydrologist for the U.S. Forest Service for 30 years: first in Flagstaff, AZ, and then in Bellingham, WA, with the Mt. Baker National Forest and later the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. After retiring from the U.S. Forest Service, he established his own consulting business, Northwest Watershed Services, with his wife, Leona. Some of their clients included the Stillaguamish Tribe, the Lummi Nation, Seattle City Light Department, and the Washington State Department of Ecology. Al’s hobbies included watching his children and grandchildren’s sporting, music, and dance events. He was a hard worker and enjoyed being outside. He cultivated an apple orchard, grafting neighborhood apple favorites onto his many trees, as well as growing a garden that always included green beans. He enjoyed breeding and raising Simmental beef cattle. He went camping and hiking with his family, took trips around the U.S. to various family reunions, and also traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Korea with his wife, Leona. Family was very important to him, and he loved spending time with his family visiting, playing games, and keeping family traditions. He volunteered for the Meridian Public School Foundation, Victor Community Club, and Victor Sunday School. Recently he was a member of Northside Community Church. “Baseball is my game” and he last played at age 80 during the annual family Fourth of July game. Al always had a kind word for everyone and took an interest in their lives. He had a quiet demeanor and when he spoke, he shared words of wisdom or a surprise joke from a great sense of humor. He loved well and was well loved by all.
Al is survived by his wife, Leona, of 61 years; his children, Alene Zander of Bellingham, Ann Zander of Bellingham, Rebecca (Bob) Morrow of Roseville, CA, Duane (Jodi) Zander of Bellingham, and Ruth Zander of Everett, WA; his grandchildren, Alex Morrow, Allison (Colton) Anderson, Kent Zander, Chad Hansen, Zoë Brown, Elaina Morrow, Ella Zander, and Jack Morrow; his brother Larry (Julie) Zander of Toledo, WA; his sister Laurel (George) Melander of Aurora, CO; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother Ray Zander, his parents, and many cousins, aunts, and uncles of the Harrison and Zander families.
He will be buried at Greenacres Memorial Park in Whatcom County.
A future Celebration of Life service will be held for Al in 2021.
Donations may be made in his memory to Meridian Public School Foundation (525 Beard Road Lynden, WA 98264), Whatcom Hospice Foundation (Lockbox #1097 PO Box 35146 Seattle, WA 98124), Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (322 Eighth Avenue, 16th Floor New York, NY 10001).