Wesley Soukkala

April 12, 1958 – Aug. 19, 2014

“Those we hold most dear never truly leave us – they live on in the kindness they showed, the comfort they shared, and the love they brought into our lives.” — Isabel Norton

Wesley Daniel Soukkala, aka “Wes,” age 56, died Tuesday, August 19, 2014, in his hometown of Warrenton. His life began on April 12, 1958, in Astoria, Oregon. He was the youngest of seven children born to George and Elsie Soukkala.

Wes graduated from Warrenton High School in 1976 and then went on to earn a bachelor of science degree at the University of Oregon in 1980. In April 1985, he joined the Air Force as a contract specialist and was based at Elmendorf in Anchorage, Alaska. His military service was cut short in December 1985, as he was a passenger in a small plane that crashed near the Bering Sea. That event changed the course of his life when he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.

In 2010, he gave an acceptance speech at the WHS Sports Hall of Fame banquet and said, “It goes without saying that this event changed my life for the worse physically but also for the better spiritually, over time. I still love God, life, and country. Nothing will ever change that.”

Wesley overcame this setback by living a life full of community service and blessing his family and friends with kindness and generosity. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, beachcombing, supporting the Deep Sea Annual Crab Feed, volunteering at church, cheering on the Oregon Ducks, traveling, and interacting with family and friends. Some of the best barbecues in town were at Wes’ place.

Wes is survived by his beloved wife, Nikki Soukkala, whom he married in November 2011, as well as three brothers and two sisters-in-law, Ray and Colean Soukkala (Warrenton), Keith Soukkala (Anchorage, AK), and Michael and Karen Soukkala (Chehalis, WA); three sisters and brothers-in-law, Loretta and Mark Ray (Warrenton, OR), Caroline and Buddy Bradley (Springfield, OR) and Rayla and Steven Goldberg (Acworth, GA). Uncle Wes will also be missed by his 12 nieces and nephews and their children, as well. His legacy of love will live on in each one of them.