Vincent Ross Gailey: Feb. 14, 1933 – Feb. 2, 2022

Born on Valentine’s Day, February 14,1933 in Seattle, Washington to Verne and Lee Gailey, Vince passed away just shy of his 89th birthday on February 2, 2022, in Bellingham, Washington. An only child, he was raised in the Seattle area, and moved to Spokane in about 1941, where he spent an imaginative childhood filled with friends and rascally capers. Oh, the stories he would tell!

Senior Chief Gailey was a Navy veteran, enlisting in 1952, with a brief stint as a sign designer in Spokane, Washington. He served in Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his meritorious service and was assigned to duty stations in Japan, as well as cities on both coasts of the US. He was selected for advancement to Master Chief Petty Officer in 1974 but declined the promotion to retire from naval service and spend more time with family, settling in Oak Harbor, Washington, the location of his favorite duty station from years past. Many locals will recall him as the manager of Chuck Dann’s Sporting Goods in the 70s and 80s, working alongside his beloved wife, Marlene. He went on from there to manage The Whidbey Playhouse, and wrapped up his working career at the Naval Hospital Oak Harbor.

Vince loved his family, (and cars! So many cars…), doted on his mother and his wife, and was a consummate entertainer, spinning tales, and welcoming all with a playful and mischievous sense of humor. His artistic side shone bright in his beautiful handwriting, and he will be remembered for his assured presence and style.

Vince is survived by his wife of 69 years, Marlene (Ocheltree) Gailey and their three children, Sherry (Gailey) Racutt; Lance Gailey, married to Vicki Owen-Gailey; and Lori (Gailey) Mentele, married to Joe Mentele; grandchildren Kristi Sherman-Wlodarchak, married to Pat Wlodarchak; Brian Sherman, fiancé Kristina Harrison; Nathan Sweeney; Amber Gailey, Jennifer Gailey, five great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.

No memorial service is planned, but Vince will be fondly remembered by all who knew him. On a wall of memorabilia in his den a small heart-shaped slip of paper quietly states: “Love is a very nice habit to get into.” Thank you for sharing and demonstrating that lifelong habit with us all, Vince.