Victims of the Oso mudslide on March 22, 2014. (Courtesy photos)

Victims of the Oso mudslide on March 22, 2014. (Courtesy photos)

Remembering the 43 lives lost in the Oso mudslide

The slide wiped out a neighborhood along Highway 530 in 2014. “Even though you feel like you’re alone in your grief, you’re really not.”

OSO — They were families, friends, retirees — people looking for a quiet life along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.

Below are the 43 people who died in the Oso mudslide on the morning of March 22, 2014, as profiled by The Daily Herald. Some families offered new stories in interviews this year.

Alan Bejvl and Delaney Webb; Thom and Marcy Satterlee

Alan Bejvl, 21, and Delaney Webb, 19, planned to marry.

Bejvl had found the love of his life, recalled his mother, Diana Bejvl. He was more of a country boy. She “always had to have her makeup on and her hair done,” Jessica Morris, who had known Webb since fourth grade, said in 2014. After their wedding, the couple planned to build a log cabin somewhere between Oso and Darrington.

Alan Bejvl and Delaney Webb

Alan Bejvl and Delaney Webb

This year, Diana Bejvl said if there was ever a group of people laughing, her son would always be in the middle of it. He brought joy to those around him.

When Alan Bejvl was 16, he woke up one morning and told his mother he was worried about dying. His mother was surprised, saying it was years too early to be worrying about that.

“No, I’m worried I’m not going to get the opportunity to experience everything this world has to offer, before I’m going to leave it,” he responded.

Webb always loved dogs and wanted to be a dog trainer. She would constantly change her taste in music.

Alan Bejvl’s final Facebook post about an hour before the disaster was a message to Webb.

“Ten things I need to be happy,” it said, with one word repeated 10 times: “You.”

When the mudslide hit, Bejvl and Webb were at the home of Webb’s grandparents, Thom and Marcy Satterlee, along the river. All four died.

Thom and Marcy Satterlee loved their home on Steelhead Drive. The two had been married more than 40 years.

Thom Satterlee, 65, was a Vietnam veteran who dropped out of high school to join the Marines at age 16. He held strong anti-government beliefs, and was known for his campaign to secede and form a region known as Freedom County from a 1,000-square-mile area in Snohomish County.

Thom and Marcy Satterlee

Thom and Marcy Satterlee

Marcy Satterlee, 61, loved her rock gardens. She was a painter, potter, crafter and cook.

“Thom did whatever Marcy wanted,” said his sister, Debbie Satterlee. “Thom really did love his wife.”

Shelley Bellomo and Jerry Logan

Shelley Bellomo, 55, and Jerry Logan, 63, lived a quiet life in their valley home.

The couple had moved from Seattle to the Steelhead Haven neighborhood 20 years before the mudslide. Bellomo, 55, had lived in Maryland, New Jersey, Nevada and Seattle. But she loved Oso. She used to watch bald eagles fly along the Stillaguamish River.

Shelley L. Bellomo

Shelley L. Bellomo

Her neighbors said if Bellomo ever saw you, she would “give you a big hug.”

Logan was referred to as “Hippie Jerry” because of his long, gray ponytail and laid-back attitude. Like his father, he traded the “G” for a “J” in his name. He was a skilled handyman, helping people repair homes and fixing cars. He served in the U.S. Army before running a carpet installation business.

Gerald Logan

Gerald Logan

The people who knew Logan described him as the epitome of Oso. Unassuming, trustworthy, carefree and always willing to help.

Tom Durnell

The Durnells were recent arrivals to the community at Steelhead Drive along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. Debbie Farnes was at work when the mudslide killed her husband, Tom, 65. The two had met on a dance floor in Everett, dancing the Texas two-step. She remembered being nervous.

Tom Durnell

Tom Durnell

“I knew by that second dance … I had finally met the love of my life,” she said in 2014.

Once they met again, they barely spent any time apart for the next eight years. They were married for four years.

After the tragedy, Debbie Farnes was able to find love again.

Julie and Adam Farnes

Jerry and Julie Farnes, 59, lived with their son, Adam Farnes, on Steelhead Drive. Adam Farnes “would just make you laugh all the time” and loved playing instruments, his friends remembered. Adam Farnes, 22, also enjoyed hiking and hunting. He once saved a baby otter on a hunting trip in Alaska. The otter eventually ended up at the Seattle Aquarium.

Adam Farnes

Adam Farnes

Before moving to Darrington, Julie Farnes grew accustomed to life in Alaska with Jerry Farnes. She was known for quilting and her apple pie. She would drive around her community in Cordova, Alaska, a small fishing village of just over 2,000 people, delivering packages to people, always with a smile on her face. While in Alaska, she learned to hunt and bagged a moose.

Julie Farnes

Julie Farnes

Jerry and Julie Farnes were married for 32 years.

The Farneses and Durnells were neighbors and became close friends. Jerry and Tom could be found working together in Tom’s woodworking shop. The couples had traveled together.

After the slide, Debbie Farnes was distraught for weeks and didn’t leave the emergency shelter. When she finally left, she initially moved in with her daughter. Jerry Farnes had moved in with his son. The families went on a trip to Leavenworth together, where Debbie and Jerry connected. Later, the two visited Cordova, where Julie used to live. Their relationship deepened and turned to love.

Bonnie and Larry Gullikson

Bonnie and Larry Gullikson were known as “Grandma and Papa” by their children. They were married for 55 years. When the mudslide struck, Larry was outside. Bonnie was napping inside her home.

She was missing for three weeks before her remains were found. Bonnie Gulikson was 91, the oldest of the mudslide victims.

Larry Gullikson was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center with severe injuries, but recovered. He died in 2018, surrounded by his family. He was 85.

Larry and Bonnie Gullikson

Larry and Bonnie Gullikson

Bonnie was a knitter, and many of her family members had received a handmade fisherman’s sweater from her. Larry’s grandchildren said he taught them how to make whistles out of willow branches and to fish.

Bonnie and Larry had two children and, at the time of Larry’s passing, 11 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and 26 great-great-grandchildren.

Mark Gustafson

Mark Gustafson, 55, was an avid fly fisherman who bought his mobile home on East Steelhead Drive in 1997. He chose a spot only a few hundred feet from the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.

Gustafson, originally from a small prairie town in Belt, Montana, loved the outdoors. His family said he most likely moved to Western Washington because of his affinity for fishing.

Mark Gustafson

Mark Gustafson

Gustafson was a private man and lived alone, but had a wide group of family and friends he was close to.

Gustafson was survived by four children. Before Gustafson’s body was recovered, his son Jeremiah discovered a life-sized photograph of himself near the wreckage of his dad’s house. Gustafson’s remains were discovered about a half-mile away, then brought back to Montana by his family.

The body of his border collie, Lefty, was also discovered in the disaster zone. His family buried the dog near a cedar sapling that was a gift from their father.

Steven Hadaway; Amanda Lennick; Stephen Neal; Bill Welsh

Lennick was a nursing graduate from Washington State University who was working at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. In 2005, she traveled to New Orleans to help evacuees from Hurricane Katrina.

Lennick, 31, had recently purchased her home along Steelhead Drive. The water heater was the only thing that wasn’t working.

Amanda Lennick

Amanda Lennick

When the landslide hit, Steven Hadaway, 53, was installing a TV satellite dish at her home. Two other men, William “Bill” Welsh, an Arlington electrician, and Stephen Neal, a plumber from Darrington, were installing a water heater.

Steven Hadaway, who served in the Marines, had recently moved to the remote area because he loved rural life. He would text his brothers pictures of Whitehorse Mountain to make them jealous. His brother would respond by sending him a picture of a building.

“I told him, if you didn’t want company, you came to the right place,” said John Hadaway, his brother, in a recent interview.

Steve was someone who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, his brother recalled. While the two would occasionally “spat,” they remained glued at the hip through the years.

“He would always say, ‘You’re not messing with my little brother,’” Hadaway said.

Steve Hadaway

Steve Hadaway

Steven Hadaway and his wife, Margaret, were foster parents before adopting three children — a boy with special needs and two girls. The couple had been married for 30 years. Their son, Brandon, died young at age 6. Steven Hadaway would affectionately refer to him as Popeye, and later he got a tattoo of the cartoon sailor in his son’s memory.

Neal, 55, had his own plumbing business in Darrington. Welsh was his friend, and the two were working together on Lennick’s house at the time of the landslide.

Neal was originally from Pittsburgh, but he grew up on Whidbey Island. He and his wife, Brenda, moved to Darrington to raise three children. As their children grew up, Neal was remembered as a doting grandfather who would host barbecues and camping trips for their extended family.

Welsh, 66, was an electrician getting ready for retirement. A Vietnam veteran, he was known by his family and friends as a giving man. He was always willing to help people out — which is exactly what he was doing when the mudslide occurred.

William Welsh with his wife, Barbara.

William Welsh with his wife, Barbara.

On Friday nights, Welsh would often go bowling with his wife Barbara for a date night. The couple raised two sons together.

Jerry and Gloria Halstead

For decades, Jerry and Gloria Halstead lived in the Everett area while they worked for Boeing.

After they retired, the couple took an RV to Alabama. They spent some time with family, but moved back to Washington because of the potential for hurricanes.

Jerry and Gloria Halstead

Jerry and Gloria Halstead

For the last decade of their lives, they were retired and settled near the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. The couple was married for 32 years.

Jerry, 75, was an angler who loved to fish for trout. Gloria, 67, was an avid reader, who enjoyed taking long walks in the woods near the river. Gloria’s daughter, Sonja Rew, said in 2014: “They were where they wanted to be.”

Steve and Theresa Harris

Steve Harris, 52, and his wife, Theresa DeShazo Harris, 53, were the last victims found in the debris before active recovery operations were suspended. The high school sweethearts were spending time at their cabin in Oso.

Steve Harris

Steve Harris

Theresa ran a Facebook group called “Listen to Love.” She often posted fantasy-style photographs along with spiritual messages.

Steve grew up in south Texas. He relocated to Washington to work for a Seattle-based marine architecture and engineering firm. He was an angler who loved the outdoors.

Theresa Harris

Theresa Harris

His sister, Robyn Dombrowski, said at the time she took comfort knowing he was living in the part of the world he loved best.

Denver Harris

Denver Harris was 14 and loved growing up in Darrington. His classmates remembered him as a boy with thick, reddish brown hair, who would make people laugh and was always “being a rebel.”

Harris was a boy who was always outdoors, whether it was hiking, swimming in the river, or tossing a football with his friends. His classmates talked about how much he was, and still is, loved.

Denver P. Harris

Denver P. Harris

Harris was alone in his former stepfather’s house on Steelhead Drive when the slide hit. His stepfather was out running errands that morning.

Christina Jefferds and Sanoah Violet Huestis

Christina Jefferds, 45, was caring for her baby granddaughter, 4-month-old Sanoah Violet Huestis, at the family’s Steelhead Drive home. Both were lost in the mudslide.

Christina Jefferds “was an advocate for women and girls to accomplish things on their own,” her sister Julie Petersen said in a recent interview.

In high school, Christina Jefferds took welding. She had a lot of natural curly red hair — and after graduation, she became an ideal model for a friend who was in beauty school. She raised her daughter, Natasha Huestis, by herself. Christina Jefferds was married to Seth Jefferds, a volunteer Oso firefighter, for seven years.

“My husband (Dale) and I tried to set Christina up on several different dates,” Petersen said. “Seth was the only one that she felt was worth her time.”

At the time of the slide, Christina Jefferds was letting her daughter Natasha Huestis, then a new mother, stay with her during maternity leave. Sanoah’s mother and Seth Jefferds happened to be away from home on March 22, 2014.

“The loss of my sister was like losing my best friend,” Petersen said. “She’s the only one who really honestly knew me. She was my protector, my example, my champion, my person who would selflessly do things with or for me without question, complaining, guilt or shame.”

Christina Jefferds in her wedding gown in 2007 when she married Seth Jefferds, an Oso firefighter. Christina Jefferds, 45, was killed in the Oso mudslide along with her baby granddaughter, Sanoah Huestis.

Christina Jefferds in her wedding gown in 2007 when she married Seth Jefferds, an Oso firefighter. Christina Jefferds, 45, was killed in the Oso mudslide along with her baby granddaughter, Sanoah Huestis.

Natasha Huestis was forever grateful for her mother helping to look after her daughter.

“Tosh (Natasha) has another baby girl McKenna, who is 7 years old,” Petersen said. “I always wonder what it would be like if McKenna’s big sister, Snowy (Sanoah) and Grandma Tutu (Christina) were here. I know that my sister and I would be the best grandparents, spoiling each other’s grandchildren.”

Sanoah Violet Huestis, was killed in the Oso mudslide, along with her grandmother, Christina Jefferds.

Sanoah Violet Huestis, was killed in the Oso mudslide, along with her grandmother, Christina Jefferds.

Sanoah’s first name was Hawaiian for “mist in the mountains.” Christina Jefferds chose the middle name, Violet.

“Together they will remain a Mist in the Mountains,” Sanoah’s obituary read.

She was the mudslide’s youngest victim.

Linda McPherson

Linda McPherson, 69, was a retired branch manager of the Darrington library. She also served for nearly two decades on the Darrington School Board. McPherson loved Darrington, and was a champion of literacy and children her entire life.

“Anyone that has anything to do with the library, Linda’s name always comes up,” McPherson’s sister, Irene Kuntz, said last week. “She was thought of so highly and touched so many people’s lives in this little community.”

Linda McPherson

Linda McPherson

McPherson was at home with her husband, Gary “Mac” McPherson, when their home was overtaken by the wave of mud. Mac tried to help his wife. He was rescued.

“Us older sisters would say (Linda) was our go-to person,” Kuntz said. “There were a few years, things would come up and I’d go, ‘Oh, Linda would know,’ and it would just hit. Linda can’t tell you.”

Joseph Miller

Joseph Miller, 47, loved fishing. He served in the military as a medic. He lived with his father, Reed Miller. The two could often be seen fishing together along the riverbanks.

Joseph and his father had a special relationship. Joseph Miller lived with mental illness his entire life. In his obituary, his mother, Maralee Hall, described him as a “very gentle, caring person.”

Joseph Miller

Joseph Miller

Reed Miller was buying groceries when he heard about the mudslide. He tried to call his son. At the time, Joseph Miller was waiting to find out whether an apartment for people living with disabilities had opened up.

Larry and Sandy Miller; Ron deQuilettes

Four years before the mudslide, Larry, 58, and Sandy Miller, 64, purchased a house along the banks of the Stillaguamish River. The two loved the property and would often talk about it like it was a dream come true.

Larry and Sandy Miller

Larry and Sandy Miller

The house was a place to relax as the couple approached retirement. It reminded Sandy of her childhood in Alaska, and the river gave Larry a place to fish. The couple had already invited friends from church to join them at their new home in the summer.

Two weeks before they were supposed to move in, the couple was putting finishing touches on the house near C-Post Road. The hill above them gave away. The Millers died, along with Ron deQuilettes, a 52-year-old electrician working on the house.

deQuilettes had been married to his wife, La Rae deQuilettes, for 31 years. The two met at Seattle Bible College, and eventually had four children together. He had been a missionary overseas and worked with orphans and others in need. When their family had financial struggles after the recession, their faith carried them through.

Ron deQuilettes

Ron deQuilettes

When he left to work that morning, La Rae deQuilettes told her husband she loved him and to be safe.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be bringing money home tonight,” he said.

Michael Pearson

Abbie Pearson remembers her dad, Michael Pearson, as being a little older.

The retired Everett police officer had moved to Darrington because he enjoyed the secluded area.

“He kind of patrolled the neighborhood, because that was just who he was. He just did his own thing,” Abbie Pearson recalled. “And rarely did he leave, because he liked nature. That was his home.”

Michael Pearson

Michael Pearson

When she was growing up, Michael Pearson, 74, used to take his daughter hunting and fishing, or up to Mount Baker.

Abbie still has his uniform, which was recovered from the slide. She keeps it framed inside her house. She’s very protective of the few possessions she has left of him, because everything else was destroyed in the slide.

“Wherever he went, his mission and his goal in life was to make sure people were OK,” she said.

Summer Raffo

Summer Raffo, 36, had a large circle of friends, as well as family, Yorkshire terriers and Arabian horses. She was one of 13 children, both biological and adopted. She was going to turn 37 in two weeks.

“Her name suited her a lot,” Raffo’s brother, Dayn Brunner, said in a recent interview. “She was a ray of sunshine when she walked into the room. She would tell jokes and laugh at your jokes, even if they were about her. She was tough, too.”

Growing up, Raffo liked riding dirt bikes and playing with Tonka trucks with her brothers, Brunner said.

At the time of the mudslide, Raffo was driving on Highway 530 to a job shoeing horses. Her car was swept 400 feet off the road and swallowed in mud.

Brunner was the one who lifted his sister from her car that was covered in mud. He couldn’t stop crying as responders flew her body away.

Summer Raffo

Summer Raffo

Raffo developed a large circle of friends through her church, love of horses, working on farms and at school. After her memorial service, her mother Rae Smith said her entire community lost someone special.

Jon and Kris Regelbrugge

Jon and Kris Regelbrugge were at their Steelhead home the morning of the slide. Kris’ body was the last to be recovered.

During the holiday season in Steelhead Haven, they would help neighbor Tim Ward pluck and clean the turkeys he raised.

“Then we’d all have fresh farm-raised turkeys for Thanksgiving,” their neighbor said in a recent interview.

Kris and John Regelbrugge

Kris and John Regelbrugge

Kris Regelbrugge, 44, was known for playing pranks. She had trouble sitting still. By the time she was in sixth grade, Kris decided to drop her given name of Molly and go by “Kris,” a shortened version of her middle name. It’s a good example of how she lived — on her own terms.

On the day she met her future husband Jon, he asked her to dance, and she declined. She made him wait the entire night before taking him up on his offer.

Jon Regelbrugge, 49, was a Navy Commander who always loved the sea. He was the officer in charge of the Everett maintenance detachment of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. He had served 32 years in the Navy, with 20 of those at sea. He was two years from retirement.

“He was the consummate professional, and his expertise was unparalleled,” said Navy Region Northwest chaplain Capt. John A. Swanson, who served alongside Regelbrugge on the USS Abraham Lincoln. “He had a quick wit and a good sense of humor. But above all, he genuinely cared about his sailors.”

Shane, Katie, Hunter and Wyatt Ruthven; JuDee and Lewis Vandenburg

Shane and Katie Ruthven were building a life with their children, Hunter, 6, and Wyatt, 4, on Steelhead Drive.

Katie, 34, was raised by Karen and Tom Pszonka, a retired Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant. Shane, 43, grew up in Spokane, and served in the Navy for four years.

Shane Ruthven, 43, and his wife, Katie Ruthven, 35, owned Mountain Lion Glass and lived with their children on East Steelhead Drive. Son Hunter Ruthven, 6, and Wyatt Ruthven, 4, also died in the slide.

Shane Ruthven, 43, and his wife, Katie Ruthven, 35, owned Mountain Lion Glass and lived with their children on East Steelhead Drive. Son Hunter Ruthven, 6, and Wyatt Ruthven, 4, also died in the slide.

The couple had run Mountain Lion Glass, a business that replaced windows in buildings. Their son, Hunter, had recently started attending Kent Prairie Elementary School. His mother was a volunteer there. Shane coached him in football.

Both boys enjoyed riding in the quads outside.

Shane’s mother and stepfather, JuDee and Lewis Vandenburg, lived next door. They had recently moved from Spokane.

The Vandenburgs had been married for 36 years. Lewis, 71, served in the Marines in Vietnam. He also worked as a corrections officer for 15 years. JuDee, 64, worked retail jobs and enjoyed her time as a florist most of all.

JuDee and Lewis Vandenburg

JuDee and Lewis Vandenburg

The couple helped the Ruthvens look after their two boys, and they relished the freedom of rural life.

Lon Slauson

Lon Slauson was getting ready to sell his home and move to Montana. Slauson, 60, was counting down the weeks.

Lon E. Slauson

Lon E. Slauson

He had served in the military, and he started working security after he retired from his career as a cement mason.

His coworkers remembered him as a “super nice” friendly man, who often walked people to their cars at night.

Billy, Kaylee and Brooke Spillers; Jovon “JoJo” Mangual

Jonielle Spillers vividly remembers the night before the mudslide.

Her husband, Billy Spillers, had just bought a new truck, and he was so excited to show her. A few hours before the slide, Jonielle Spillers had left for work.

Billy L. Spillers, 30, was a chief petty officer at Naval Station Everett. His daughters, Kaylee B. Spillers, 5, and Brooke Spillers, 2, and a stepson, Jovon Mangual, 13, also were killed. Jacob Spillers, 4, was rescued by helicopter, and Billy Spillers’ wife, Jonielle Spillers, was away at the time of the slide.

Billy L. Spillers, 30, was a chief petty officer at Naval Station Everett. His daughters, Kaylee B. Spillers, 5, and Brooke Spillers, 2, and a stepson, Jovon Mangual, 13, also were killed. Jacob Spillers, 4, was rescued by helicopter, and Billy Spillers’ wife, Jonielle Spillers, was away at the time of the slide.

Billy Spillers, 30, a Navy chief petty officer, had enlisted in 2002. On the morning of March 22, 2014, he was likely watching TV with his daughters, Kaylee, 5, and Brooke, 2, and his stepson Jovon “Jojo” Mangual, 13.

The day Jacob Spillers was born, Billy held him with tears in his eyes. She remembered how funny it could be to watch Billy figure out how to be a dad. One time, at her eldest son’s baseball game, he had changed the newborn Kaylee’s diaper in his truck. The baby’s onesie was buttoned on the outside of her pants instead of the inside, because he figured it would “keep her pants up.”

In stunning footage, Billy’s son, Jacob, was rescued from the mud.

Jonielle Spillers now lives in Iowa with Jacob, who is now 14. She also has twins through in vitro fertilization. Spillers runs the O So Beautiful Salon, and has come into contact with other people who have lost family members.

“I might cry a little bit, or they might cry,” she said this year. “It’s helpful knowing that even though you feel like you’re alone in your grief, you’re really not. There’s someone else you can lean on.”

Brandy Ward

Brandy Ward, 58, had a warm spirit. She lived in her Steelhead Drive home with her husband, Oso fire commissioner Tim Ward, who was injured in the slide, but survived.

“Thinking about Brandy, compassion is the biggest thing I can think of,” Tim Ward said in a recent interview. “She was loving in ways that I can’t even describe.”

Brandy Ward

Brandy Ward

The Wards met in band class in the ninth grade at their Miami high school. After graduation, Brandy Ward pursued nursing and Tim Ward joined the Army. They later moved to Washington, where they raised their two daughters.

“My daughter’s got a garden growing in her greenhouse right now, and all I see is her mother in her,” Tim Ward said. “She enjoys sitting inside in the winter, doing cross-stitch. That’s something her mother did all the time.”

The Wards moved to Steelhead Haven in 2007 and planned to retire there.

“She was so beautiful,” Tim Ward said. “We loved each other more at that age than we did in early life.”

Tim Ward described that Saturday as a typical cozy morning in their home. They scrambled extra eggs from their hens to feed their five German shorthaired pointers. He was in the bathroom when he heard a deep rumbling outside. Brandy called to him from the kitchen. It was the last time he heard her voice.

Sophia Gates and Sydney Jackson contributed to this report.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; jonathan.tall@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @snocojon.

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