Richard Wolten, Sauk-Suiattle natural resources director, passes away

Services were held yesterday for Richard Wolten, former natural resources director for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

Richard Raymond Wolten of Bellingham, Wash., passed away Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011 after a long hard battle with cancer. He was 61.

Rich was raised in Blaine, Wash., by Edith and David Wolten. During his youth, he was active in the Boy Scouts, achieving Eagle Rank, and played football in high school. After graduation in 1968, Rich served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Rich worked for the Forest Service during high school and after he returned from Vietnam. He then went to work for the Bellingham City Parks Dept for 32 years. After retiring from the City of Bellingham, he took the position as Director of Natural Resources for the Sauk-Suattle Indian Tribe of Darrington, Wash.

He is survived by his loving wife of almost 40 years, Marilee; son Barry Wolten; daughter Andrea & husband Josh Vail; grandson James and soon-to-arrive grandson, Bryer. He is also survived by his brother Blain Wolten; sisters Miriam Finkbonner, Jan Mabee and Berwyn Bough; and numerous relatives, in-laws, friends and family. He was preceded in death by his brother Bill Wolten, his parents David & Edith Wolten, and his granddaughter Haylee Wolten.

Rich loved his family and they were always his priority. Throughout his life, he also enjoyed hunting, camping, fishing, hiking and knew how to build or fix just about anything.

A celebration of Rich’s life and memories of him was held Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011 at Moles Bayview Chapel in Bellingham. Donations can be made to the Whatcom County Hospice House or favorite charity. You may share your thoughts and memories of Richard in the online memorial guest book at