John M. Bangsund

March 10, 1949 – August 3, 2018

John Bangsund

John M. Bangsund died peacefully and went home to be with the Lord on Friday, August 3, 2018.

John was born in Seattle to Marvin and Helen Bangsund on March 10, 1949. He grew up in Lake City, attended Maple Leaf Lutheran Church, and graduated from Nathan Hale High School in 1967, where he played football, basketball, and ran track. In 1966, he met Kathy Koll at an all-city church youth event, and their years of adventure and teamwork began. 

He attended Pacific Lutheran University and played football while pursuing a degree in Education with a major in History. In December 1969, John and Kathy married, and he graduated from PLU in 1971.

Shortly thereafter, John lived a dream and moved with Kathy to western Alaska, where they taught school in the villages of Emmonak, Kotlik, and Mountain Village, on the Yukon Delta. John taught all grade levels and worked also as a school principal in Alaska.

In 1978, John and Kathy moved to Leavenworth with their growing family, and John taught at Peshastin-Dryden Middle School in 1978-79.

In 1979, Mr. B. became the founding principal and teacher of Upper Valley Christian School at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene. He led and taught hundreds at UVCS until his retirement in 2010, and his students remember him for his enthusiasm, perseverance, and devotion to Jesus Christ. He oversaw and developed the school’s curriculum and traditions, including outdoor education camps to Grouse Creek, the Olympic Peninsula, Deception Pass, and Yellowstone; wood shop; ski school at Mission Ridge; the Turkey Bowl; awards picnics; field and travel trips all over the country, and more. He taught students how to do fractions, play every game, read the newspaper, memorize Scripture, and love the Lord.

Mr. B. became Coach B. in 1986 when he accepted the invitation to be an Assistant Coach for the Cascade Kodiak Football team. Coach B. became as integral to Kodiak Football as anyone has ever been, coaching through the 2014 season and returning in 2016 to coach a 7th grade team. Scores of young men trusted him as a mentor, leader, and minister on the football field.

John Bangsund’s leadership of public service throughout the Leavenworth and Upper Valley communities included many faithful years (1986-2003) as a commissioner for Chelan County Fire District No. 3, a role he proudly treasured. In 2014, John was elected to Leavenworth City Council, where he served his community through 2016.

John’s decades of service and leadership developed also at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene, where he championed the annual Living Nativity, worked on building crews, served years as a youth leader, and completed countless projects both large and small. He especially loved gathering in prayer for those in need.

In 2002, John and Kathy together opened the Dwelling Place, a nonprofit Adult Family Home for men with developmental disabilities. The Dwelling Place Amigos have truly become brothers, and many happy parties, trips, Special Olympics competitions, and joyful events have been hallmarks of John’s life with the Dwelling Place family.

In all of his roles, John treasured being husband, father, and grandfather most of all. He delighted in taking family trips, teaching his children and grandchildren how to play games, and celebrating the ordinary with smores, treat nights, and water fights. Despite John’s long journey with cancer, he realized another dream and taught all of his grandchildren how to ski.

John Bangsund was preceded in death by his parents, Marvin and Helen, and infant daughter, Julie. He is survived by his wife Kathy of Leavenworth; his children Markus (Julie) Bangsund of Leavenworth, Jenny Bangsund (Jonathan Neiderhiser) of Sioux Falls, SD, and Matt Bangsund of Leavenworth; his grandchildren Johanna Neiderhiser, Matthias Neiderhiser, and Kole Bangsund; his brother Ken (Rebecca) Bangsund of Everett; and a large and loving extended family.

A memorial service celebrating John’s life will be held on Wednesday, August 15, at 2:00 p.m. at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be given to The Dwelling Place or the John and Kathy Bangsund Legacy Fund at Upper Valley Christian School (both of Leavenworth).

User menu

NCW Media Newspapers