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Dwight Garrett passes

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Businessman made Enumclaw a better place through personal donations

By Kevin Hanson

The Courier-Herald

Dwight Garrett - who left an indelible mark on Enumclaw as an inventor, businessman, civic booster and philanthropist - died Thursday at the age of 89.

Garrett's name will live on in Enumclaw, as the town has twice honored one of its favorite sons. The former school site on Porter Street is now Dwight Garrett Park and, just this summer, Second Street was renamed Garrett Street.

Garrett, who was born May 28, 1916, in Black Diamond, made his mark in the timber industry. Specifically, his invention - the Garrett Tree Skidder - was said to have revolutionized the way trees were harvested. "He put Enumclaw on the map in the timber industry," said Keith Blackburn, a longtime friend and former business associate.

Garrett did business for years, providing many local jobs, from a uniquely-designed building that fronted state Route 410, a structure that eventually gave way to the street that now bears his name.

Garrett served on the Enumclaw School Board and was a founding member of Enumclaw's second bank, but his dedication to the community was most notable at Enumclaw Community Hospital. During the hospital's earlier years, when it was in need of an emergency wing, it was Garrett who stepped to the plate. He put up half the necessary money and, when community donations totaled the other half, the life-saving improvements became reality.

"We would not have had that emergency room if not for Dwight and Doris (his wife)," said Jim Puttman, who knew Garrett for years and shared an affinity for the local hospital.

"He was a real scholar and teacher...a real gentleman," Puttman said. "You couldn't help but admire him."

Blackburn recalls Garrett as "the most naturally talented businessman I've ever met."

Garrett is survived by his wife, Doris; daughters Debbie, Penny and Cindy; three grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

A funeral service is planned for 1 p.m. Friday at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Enumclaw. Burial will be at Evergreen Memorial Park. An obituary can be found on page B5.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com.

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