Ryan Matthew Stollwerck
It started as Ryan was enjoying his morning exercise routine walking one of his favorite spots, the Tommy Thompson Trail in Anacortes. As he was walking he started to drag his right foot. It felt like he had a torn muscle in his calf. He also realized he could no longer walk in a straight line. He struggled with it for another week attempting to work through it and get better. On May 4th Ryan was hospitalized and diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, grade 4 malignant brain tumor. Ryan spent the next eight weeks at Swedish Hospital, Cherry Hill Campus, under the care and watchful eye of the Neurology/Oncology team, fighting hard against the brain tumor and complications of blood clots in his legs and lungs. He struggled through two brain surgeries and a brain infection. He was moved eleven times to different rooms and had over 150 nursing changes during his stay at Swedish Hospital. On June 28th we brought him home to Anacortes to live the remainder of his life. Ryan did everything medically and physically, that was asked of him. He rarely complained. “Please” and Thank you” were forever present to the end with Ryan. He was always appreciative of what others were doing for him. He fought the hard fight. Even with total loss of function of his right arm and leg. He never gave up and remained as optimistic about the future as one could with the challenges that were ahead of him. On September 9th at 5:10 a.m., all the mountainous struggles created by his aggressive tumor proved insurmountable. Cancer won, but not without a bravely fought battle. Ryan took the classic cancer road that many of you are familiar with, and that is fight, fight, fight…and keep fighting. Ryan was born October 17, 1966 in Tacoma, Washington, the son of Eric and Karla Stollwerck. He attended Edison Elementary School and graduated from Burlington-Edison High School in 1985. He loved football and his senior year was selected to the All-Northwest Defensive team and the All-State Defensive team and played in the All-State game in Everett. Ryan was fortunate to have played under the great coach Glenn Rickert and his well-rounded staff. Go Tigers! Ryan enjoyed his high school years and his participation in its pranks. Ryan graduated with an Associate Degree from Skagit Valley College and worked for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, the Boeing Company, and Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes. He really enjoyed working for Dakota Creek, his fellow employees, and the staff at Superior Systems, and the people of Anacortes. Ryan had a dream of building a cabin on a few acres in eastern Washington. Over several years he had designed and prefabricated most of the cabin and accumulated accompanying “house hardware”. He was preparing to bring his dream to fruition when the tumor struck. Ryan was concerned about other people and wanted them to be safe and okay. He put others selflessly before his own needs and often offered them a physical or financial hand. He strongly believed in being safe, prepared and taking care of yourself and others. The Christmas season was meaningful and very important to Ryan. He enjoyed taking over the family Christmas baking traditions. Here comes Santa…His favorite places were the snow of Mt. Baker, Leavenworth, Washington Park, the Tommy Thompson Trail, the ferry to Friday Harbor, the old Schroeder farm on the Bayview-Edison Road, and the Adrift Restaurant. He was a supporter of Habitat for Humanity, the Anacortes Food Bank, and especially the Anacortes Kiwanis store. Ryan remained upbeat and positive to others in his life and his favorite saying (that speaks hugely of him) was “It’s all good…!” Ryan is survived by his parents, Eric and Karla Stollwerck of Anacortes; brother, Eric Stollwerck, Jr. (wife, Pam Dargitz) of Samish Island; sister Deveree Stollwerck of Samish Island; Deveree’s daughter, his favorite (and only) niece, Chantel Danger; and former brother-in-law, Michael Danger of Sedro-Woolley; uncles, George Stollwerck of Burlington, Peter (Carol) Stollwerck of Mukilteo; aunts, Michelle Robertson of Mt. Vernon, Gretchen (Randy) Merritt of Big Lake, Mary Kay (Frank) Treese of Port Orchard; and numerous cousins and a very special friend to the end, Nancy Powell. He was preceded in death by grandparents, Monte and Dolores Schroeder and Dr. George and Lacey Stollwerck. There are many people to thank and acknowledge for their support and care of Ryan in his most recent challenging times these past four months: Dr. John Henson, Swedish Hospital Neurology/Oncology and the caring Swedish Hospital staff, Cherry Hill Campus, especially Eva Tufa, Dr. Robert Rieger, Island Family Physicians, Anacortes, the Island Hospital Home Health Out Reach Program, Anne Pliska, Kathryn Booth, Tom Hudson, Sharon Jones, and Penny Snarrenberg were like a rock for our family and very, very supportive in Ryan’s time of need. A special thanks to Karl and Linda of Western Van Service, and ultimately his final caregiver and his true love and best friend, Nancy Powell. A Celebration of Ryan’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, September 23, 2012 at the Seafarer’s Memorial Park Building, 610 Seafarer’s Way, Anacortes, WA, 98221. Ryan would suggest any donations be to a cause that reaches out to help others. Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., Anacortes, WA and the San Juan Islands. To share memories of Ryan, please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com.