Cover photo for John Paul Sulonen's Obituary
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John

John Paul Sulonen

d. April 15, 2012

died at home on April 15, two days after celebrating his 77th birthday. Earlier that morning, he was reported to have been in fine spirits, having attended church where he sang in choir and received his annual birthday blessing.He was born in Nashwauk, Minnesota, to Charles and Anne Midgley Sulonen. He had one brother, Richard, who preceded him in death. When John Paul was five, the family moved to Bremerton, where he attended school and eventually graduated from Silverdale High. He maintained contact with several high school friends and attended numerous high school reunions over the years.After completing a four year tour of duty in the Navy and being honorably discharged, John Paul returned to Bremerton and enrolled at Olympic College. A talented musician who played the bass and guitar, John Paul often spoke fondly of the time he spent with "The Jolly Boys" Dance Band from the college while a student there. Among his acquaintances was Wendal Jones, who was then the college's Director of Music. It was Wendal who introduced John Paul to his younger sister, Sally Jones, a music teacher in the Bremerton Public Schools.After finishing an Associate degree at Olympic College, John Paul married Sally in 1959. He then attended the University of Washington, continuing at night school and eventually graduating. In the meantime, he and Sally had two sons, Kevin and Erik. John Paul was a proud, dedicated, and loving father, and he and Sally shared their love of music with their sons. Kevin and Erik remember their parents frequently playing together in a jazz duet in area restaurants and at special events.John Paul thoroughly enjoyed all types of music, but particularly West Coast Cool Jazz. He sought out opportunities to see groups such as The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Zoot Simms, and Gerry Mulligan, and had an extensive collection of classic jazz LPs.His work life was diverse. He was employed for 12 years at the UW Applied Physics Lab, then for three more years at the University Hospital, where he worked on a medical research team. From there, he worked for another 12 years at Honeywell before retiring. After retirement, John Paul enjoyed working in the area as a handyman. He was employed for a time at his favorite hangout and second home, the old Winslow hardware store.A longtime Kitsap County resident, John Paul attracted many friends through his warmth, kindness, and spirit. Over the years, he was frequently seen walking around town, both Winslow and Poulsbo, often with his dogs Moppet, Tippy, Gunnar, and Buddy. John Paul loved meeting people and chatting with new friends and old alike. He had a wonderful sense of humor.In his later years, John Paul renewed a longtime interest by earning a ham radio operator's license. He joined the Puget Sound Repeater group and often added his voice to those of the other local hams, who he fondly referred to as the "old guys," for the 9:00 p.m. daily check-in.John Paul also became a grandfather, and was very proud of his grandchildren Rachel, Leah, Simon, and Ezekiel.John Paul is survived by wife Sally; son Kevin Sulonen and daughter-in-law Jennifer Crowder; son Erik Sulonen and daughter-in-law Deanna Karnes Sulonen; and grandchildren Rachel, Leah, Simon, and Ezekiel.The family invites you to join them for a celebration of John Paul's life at a service Saturday, April 28, at 10 a.m., at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. A reception will follow.

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