Stuart Gregory Oles | Passages

Stuart Gregory Oles

1924 – 2018

Stuart Gregory Oles attended Seattle public schools and the University of Washington Law School. After serving as deputy prosecutor of King County, he joined the Seattle firm of Allen, DeGarmo & Leedy, later named Oles, Morrison, Rinker and Baker. Some 40 years later, he retired as senior partner. His practice was mostly specialized in heavy construction (dams, bridges, highways, transmission lines, etc.), which took him to several countries including Switzerland, Sweden, Egypt, Japan, the Philippines and Mexico. He tried cases in various courts of Washington, Oregon, California, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah and Puerto Rico, as well as in federal courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1954, he married Ilse Hanewald, and they recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary.

In 1975 they bought a house on Lopez Island and traveled with their boat, the Cape St. Mary, all through the Canadian Gulf Islands. Later they added the adjoining 155-acre Dana McBarron property. It came with two elderly Scottish Highland Cows and two tiny calves. Stuart and Ilse decided to divide off 90 acres in order to start Cape St. Mary Ranch, a purebred cow/calf operation owned by the Oles family. They sold breeding stock to ranches in several states. Now, after 37 years, the cattle herd has been sold to a breeder in Idaho, and the ranch operation will be closed this year.

The remaining 65 acres became Cape St. Mary Estates subdivision, which was developed by Stuart and Ilse and their partners Don and Helen Murphy of Tacoma.

Stuart and Ilse were faithful members of Grace Episcopal Church, first attending on Humphrey Head and then in Lopez Village. Stuart was a lay reader and authorized by the bishop to preach sermons. A collection of Stuart’s sermons was published in a book, “Upon this Rock.” He was a leader in the congregation’s efforts to build the new church in the Village.

In the 1990s, when the beach and adjoining marsh at Watmough Bight was for sale, Stuart and Ilse Oles purchased it. They built a parking area and a pedestrian access to the shore and then donated the property to the Land Bank for public enjoyment. Since then, other properties have been added to make up the Watmough Preserve.

Stuart is survived by his wife Ilse, their sons Douglas, Karl and Stephen, daughters-in-law Alida and Melinda, and five grand-children.

A memorial service is planned at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 29 at Grace Church, Lopez Island. Instead of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Grace Church. PO Box 324, Lopez Island.