March 29, 1947 — Feb. 23, 2021
Alan Gatchell, of Salem, died Feb. 23, 2021, after an 18-month battle with acute myeloid leukemia.
Born Alan Karl Gatchell on March 29, 1947, in Corvallis, he was the only child of Karl Lester Gatchell and Nolia Catherine Walker Gatchell.
He was raised in Corvallis and graduated from Corvallis High School in 1965. Growing up, he enjoyed Little League Baseball, building and flying model airplanes with his father and visits to his grandparents’ grass seed farm near Tangent.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in September 1967 and sent to Vietnam as a medic. He served one tour, from March 1968 to March 1969. He spent most of the year attached to the 1st Cavalry in the central highlands around An Khe. He made it home and never talked much about his experiences there.
After the Army, he worked for the Northside Lumber mill in Philomath. He eventually went to college on the GI Bill, and worked part-time at the lumber mill. He graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in pharmacy in 1975.
He worked for Salem Memorial Hospital for 17 years as a hospital pharmacist. He went to work for the Salem Costco Wholesale store in 1992, and worked as the pharmacy manager for 15 years, then continued with Costco as a part-time relief pharmacist for several years, until full retirement.
Alan married his high school sweetheart, Lynda McFarland, in 1968. They had one daughter, Traci. They divorced in 1983.
He was a confirmed bachelor for many years until he was reacquainted with Lou Ann Thorsness in 1999. They had worked together at the Salem hospital in the late 1980s. They dated for several years, while she raised her daughters. They decided to get married in 2010. He freely admitted she was the best thing to ever happen to him.
Alan became involved with the Sons of Norway in Gearhart and the Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival with Lou Ann and her family. He became a key member of the lodge’s annual lefse-making and booth at the festival. He enjoyed becoming part of the Astoria community, and treasured the many friendships he made.
His hobbies included hiking in the Cascade and Coast Range mountains in his younger years. Camping, bicycling, driving back roads, yard work, building and flying radio-controlled model aircraft, photography, reading and woodworking.
Survivors include his wife, Lou Ann; one daughter, Traci Burton (Mike), of Canby; and granddaughters, Brianna Nofziger and Haley Nofziger (Jeremy Erickson), both of Oregon City.
He is also survived by his stepdaughters, Kelly Huckestein (Sam and Oliver Seulean), of Knappa, and Erika Huckestein (Jordan Smith), of Philadelphia; and brothers-in-law, Chuck (Carol) Thorsness and Andy (Cathy) Thorsness.
Memorial contributions may be made to your local animal shelter, Oregon Public Broadcasting or the charity of your choice.
At Alan’s request, no services are planned.
Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Services.