Wayne Leroy Sahli
Wayne Leroy Sahli passed away on March 10, 2016, in Spokane and went to heaven surrounded by his loving family. Everyone knew him as being “larger than life,” and he remained so even after a five-month battle with cancer. He will be remembered as a man with an infectious smile and an energetic personality.
Wayne was born on Sept. 13, 1944, in Spokane to Elwin and Wilma (McClure) Sahli. His family lived in Freeman, and Wayne grew up working on wheat ranches in the area where his love of farming was sculpted into a lifelong passion. His education came from the “school of hard knocks,” along with many years of personal experience. Honesty is a word that has often been used to describe Wayne. He earned his reputation in honesty and fairness. Once you got your word from him, it was good, solid and true.
Wayne and Cathy (Martin) were married on Sept. 10, 1966, in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. He lovingly called her “Scooter.” They lived in Freeman, Spokane, the Methow Valley and Mattawa. While living in Freeman, Wayne worked alongside of his brother Wesley laying floors. Moving to the Methow Valley in the early ’70s, Wayne was introduced to the orchard industry. He later joined friends from the Methow to develop new orchards in the desolate desert of Mattawa. He became an industry leader, pioneering the planting and growing of large orchards. Wayne loved farming apples and shared his knowledge with anyone willing to learn. He always encouraged others to succeed and live good lives.
In the 1990s and into the millennium, Wayne was involved in Grant County planning. He always selflessly fought for the betterment of all communities in Grant County. In April 2014, several Washington state and Grant County leaders attended a special tour that Wayne spearheaded. Even while battling cancer, Wayne continued with his commitment to the Port of Mattawa.
In 1996, as a testament to his faith in God, Wayne erected the HOPE sign on a hillside in Desert Aire that has become deeply inspirational to many locals as well as folks just passing through. He just happened to be in Europe looking at apples when it came time to dig and blast the holes through basalt for the upright posts. Wayne was great at delegating!
Wayne is survived by his wife Cathy of 49 years in Desert Aire; his daughter Shelly (Kurt) McCauley of West Richland; his son Sean (Summer) Sahli of Quincy; his grandchildren Kristen Sahli and Levi Branham of Kennewick and Gavin and Damon Sahli of Quincy; his great-grandchildren Kiyana and Leilani Murray of Kennewick; and his sister Linda (Loren) James of Ronald. He was preceded in death by his father Elwin Sahli; his mother Wilma Weisemann; brothers Don Sahli and Wesley (Gail) Sahli; and his sister Karen (Dean) Westby. Wayne loved his family more than anything. He always encouraged them to be the very best they possibly could be and to love, live and share with others. He was so very proud of every one of them.
Wayne knew no strangers and never forgot what a person was saying. He always showed his genuine interest in all people by asking personal questions, whether he had known them for minutes or years. He always left a person feeling empowered and inspired to succeed in life. Wayne was quite the jolly, social butterfly and he loved visiting with friends. Going to the mailbox often turned into a three-hour tour!
In lieu of flowers, the family asks to please donate to a favorite family charity in honor of Wayne Sahli. May his selflessness live strong in all of those he knew. Be in peace Wayne, Dad, Grandpa.
The Celebration of Life for Wayne Sahli will be at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, at the Desert Aire Senior Center.