Harry “Buzz” Eugene Cartwright was born in Everett, Washington on December 21, 1932 to Winifred and Harry Cartwright and died in Puyallup, Washington on November 18, 2023, at the age of 90. Survived by his wife of 55 years, Darlene, his sister Mary Grinage, his sister Phyllis Heikke and his brother Tim Duren (Mary), his children Amy Piasecki, Gerald Cartwright, Steve Kidwell (Sally), Michell Thyng (Vince) and Michael Cartwright (Marcella). He had 10 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents Winnie and Harry, his older sister Patty and his granddaughter Sabrina.
He grew up in Everett and was an avid athlete in his youth and he played football and baseball. He joined the Navy while in his teens and served in the Korean War as a helicopter navigator aboard the USS St. Paul. In April of 1952, the ship suffered a powder blast in a gun turret while operating off Korea that killed 30 sailors including Buzz’s best friend. This was a painful memory for him. While navigating a helicopter during the war, he crashed more than once and one crash sent him through the bottom of the helicopter into the sea. Afraid to fly later in life, he would choose to vacation where he could drive.
While he was in the Navy, he married Sue in Chicago, Illinois. They had daughter, Amy, and son, Gerald. They subsequently divorced and he married Jeanette and had a son, Steven. He went to trade school to become an electrician. Ultimately, they divorced as well.
In 1968, he married Darlene and had daughter, Michell, and son Michael. He worked as an electrician and Darlene as a nurse. He enjoyed taking family driving vacations and every summer a two-week car trip across America was one of the highlights of his year. The last stop of the vacations was always in Reno, one of his favorite places to visit and play Keno.
He was a member of the Electrician’s Union, IBEW Local 76 and worked at many local electrical shops. He wired many homes throughout Pierce County. He was known for how quickly he could get a house wired. He did a lot of electrical work for family and friends. He suffered an industrial injury in the late 80’s and had to have a knee replacement which forced him into retirement.
Buzz was an accomplished bowler and if you were a bowler in the Puyallup or Tacoma area in the 1980’s through the 2010’s you probably ran into him. He played in several leagues at many different bowling alleys including Daffodil, New Frontier and Pacific Lanes. He had 16 ABC Sanctioned 300 games and then had three more 300 games in practice for a total of 19. He also played baseball and continued that throughout his adult life. Known as a great hitter, he had many homeruns under his belt.
Buzz was a voracious reader and read every Louis L’amour book ever written. He played cribbage throughout his life and played it with his Mom, Winnie, who he always said was a “fast pegger.” Later, he played cribbage with his son-in-law, Vince, who he called Cheater Boy. He also loved cars and was a member of the Buick Club. He had many, many cars over his lifetime and enjoyed his time spent with his other Buick Club members talking about cars and taking his Buicks to car shows. An animal and especially dog lover, he had several dogs in his lifetime, and they spent a lot of time on his lap while he read in his recliner.
Buzz loved his family and enjoyed getting to see his grandkids. You would always find him in a wrestling match soon after his grandkids arrived. He was proud of everything his kids and grandkids accomplished and would brag about them regularly.
Buzz was outgoing and social and always had a lot of friends. You always knew when he was in the room and he was known for his stories, some good and some bad. He had a great sense of humor and sometimes had a good joke but he would tell you that all his jokes were good.
In his later years, he was a member of the Mid-County Senior Center and he enjoyed many meals and stories with friends there. He was also a member of St. John of the Woods Catholic Church in Tacoma. He enjoyed the people, sense of community and activities at church.
As he got older, he enjoyed jigsaw puzzles and crosswords. He eventually developed dementia and Darlene was able to keep him at home until August of 2023 when he went into memory care. It was a hard adjustment and his health declined after a short hospital stay in October of 2023. He came out of the hospital but did not recover well and went into hospice. We were grateful for the opportunity to say our goodbyes during that final week. Buzz was loved and his presence will be missed every day.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association or to your local animal shelter.