After battling cancer for over a year, third generation Blaine resident Jerry Wolten died the day after Christmas. He was 68.
Wolten was the grandson of pioneer merchant, Paul Wolten, who started Blaine’s first hardware store at the corner of G Street and Peace Portal Drive. In 1984, along with his wife Ann, he opened a hardware store of his own at 862 Peace Portal Drive.
A true local character with deep roots in the history of Blaine, the gregarious and fun-loving Wolten was always good for a story or for gently and humorously putting people in their place.
He was also an avid fisherman, stocking the southwest corner of his store with salt and fresh water fishing tackle. Last summer he was recognized by the community by being named Grand Marshall of the annual Fourth of July Parade.
Wolten was an integral part of the local sports scene for more than 30 years, and along with John Liebert was honored with the David Duvall award by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) last fall.
At the time Wolten said that he’d been on the football chain gang for “33 or 34 years, something like that.” He helped purchase a high quality set of yard markers that were used only for varsity football games. To make sure, Wolten kept them in his basement in his house on Harvey Road.
Wolten was the public address announcer at football games for a short time many years ago but soon switched to working the chains, saying that he “liked the sidelines better.”
He was president of both the Blaine Booster Club and the local youth baseball program, where he coached for 11 years.
Wolten introduced T-ball to Blaine after seeing it played in Kirkland. His son Brad, who graduated in 1983 and now lives in Sumas, was one of the fastest running baseball players Whatcom County has produced.
Wolten was born in Bellingham on November 26, 1941 to Paul and Mae Wolten and graduated from Bellingham High School 1959. In 1972 he met and married Ann (Helland) Berge.
Jerry is survived by his wife Ann; daughter, Karri (Mike) and grandson Jason of California; son, Brad Wolten of Sumas; daughter, Linda Berge (Steve) and grandsons Ivan and Harlan of Seattle; son, Todd Berge (Diane) and granddaughters Kristi and Kelsey of Blaine; son, Ron Wolten (Karin) and granddaughter Nichole and grandson Darin and great granddaughter, Malarie of Florida; daughter, Jennifer (Jeff) Wheeler and granddaughters Jessica and Madison of Blaine; sister, Paula (Mike) Smith of Blaine, best friend, Bruce Jepsen of Bothell and many nieces, nephews, cousins and his fellow fishing buddies.
Memorial services are scheduled for Saturday, January 2, at 2 p.m. at the Blaine school district’s performing arts center. Those who wish to are encouraged to make a contribution to the Jerry Wolten Sports Fund. Checks specifying that can be sent to the Blaine Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 4285, Blaine 98231.