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Daughters reminisce about their parents Joan and Stanley Kinger after fatal crash
As Lynn Wood and Sandy Frazier look around their childhood Redmond home, memories of their parents come flooding back to them.
On one wall, there’s a purple ribbon that Joan Kinger received at a fair for baking. Her daughters say their mother also earned copious first-place blue ribbons for baking and canning during her lifetime.
Frazier points at a photo of Stanley Kinger, who is smiling with his eyes twinkling. That’s a typical portrait of her dad, she says, matching his smile for a second.
The two sisters — along with their husbands — were back in Redmond to go through their parents’ belongings following a head-on car crash that claimed their lives on June 16 on Highway 522 near Maltby.
Joan, 76, a passenger in a 2007 Ford Fusion, died at the scene. Stanley, 79, was the driver and was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he also died. A 1-year-old girl, who was a passenger in the other car, was taken to Harborview and died at 4:03 p.m. on June 20, according to Washington State Patrol trooper Keith Leary, who was notified by a Harborview staff member. The other driver, 24, of a Mitsubishi Eclipse is recovering from his injuries, which include, but are not limited to, two broken feet, a broken left arm and internal injuries, according to trooper Michael McGee.
The collision occurred around 3:20 p.m. east of Fales Road. Troopers believe that the driver of the Mitsubishi was heading east and crossed over onto the westbound shoulder. The Mitsubishi hit a traffic barrel that was in some grass beyond the shoulder, and the driver overcorrected before crashing into the Kingers — longtime Redmond residents who moved their family to their Education Hill home on Northeast 107th Street in 1967.
REMEMBERING THE KINGERS
A memorial service for the Kingers was held on June 22 at Bear Creek Community Church in Woodinville. In his sermon, pastor Dale Sorgen from First Baptist Church in Monroe — Wood’s church — spoke about people’s legacies and how they want to be remembered after they pass on.
“The ceremony was very simple and beautiful — just like Joan and Stan,” said Joyce Munson-Ramos, who lived next door to the Kingers for 40 years and now resides in North Bend.
“I can’t even begin to count the number of times (Stan) came to help this single mom and her children with repairs, disasters or whatever we needed and always with a smile. Our main water pipe erupted one Mother’s Day and there was Stan, sloshing through the water running down the small hill from our yard into his, at three in the morning,” Munson-Ramos wrote in the Cedar Lawns Funeral Home and Memorial Park guestbook.
She added about Joan: “(She) had a sugar cookie recipe that she gave me after I tasted one she had just baked. I still have that recipe and have never found a better one. She taught my oldest daughter how to make pie crusts. Joan was such a loving, kind and patient woman who we were blessed to have as a neighbor for all those years.”
Wood, 50, who lives in Monroe, and Frazier, 52, who lives in Anchorage, Alaska, said their parents were retired and spent a lot of time traveling in their motor home.
They were always a family on the move, whether it was on vacations in their station wagon en route to the next camp site along America’s roads or relocating from Kenora in Ontario, Canada, to Minnesota to Woodinville and finally to Redmond.
During summer vacations on the way back to their native Kenora, “we would stop everywhere on the way up; there’s a roadside attraction that looked good, dad would pull over and stop,” Frazier said with a slight laugh.
Wood remembers spending many hours outside with her dad, whom she described as an outdoorsman who liked to hunt, fish and deep-sea dive.
“There used to be woods back there and we would go ride our bikes to an abandoned orchard and pick cherries,” Wood said. “My dad would climb the tree with me, but (Frazier) wouldn’t, so we would spit the pits on her head. He knew great spots to pick apples and hazelnuts.” She added that one time they went ice skating on some frozen ponds in Duvall.
Stanley first embraced diving as a hobby and then did under-sea construction and welding on bridges as a career. In Kenora, he also worked for the police department recovering bodies in the lake following fatal accidents. In Seattle, he got into non-sea construction and helped build overpasses.
Joan also enjoyed knitting and sewing and made most of the girls’ dresses when they were kids. When the girls were in their 20s, Joan went to vocational school and earned her medical-assistant degree.
It was Joan’s meals that stick out in Frazier’s mind.
“You could tell by the weather what we were having for dinner. The winter storms, a super, dark cloudy day, pouring down rain, wind blowing: we would have homemade bread and a wonderful soup,” she said.
Also on the food front, Wood said that Stanley was a perpetual giver.
“He’d always be packing up the tomatoes and plums and knocking on doors and distributing his garden produce,” she said. “We’re finding out more and more how many neighbors he loved. They’re coming from way down the road and the postal carrier sent a card. People we didn’t even know he knew and he cared about.”
“They’ve been tremendous support since we’ve been here,” Frazier said.
AFTERMATH OF THE ACCIDENT
According to a Washington State Patrol memo, drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the crash, and they have ruled out the Eclipse driver being distracted by texting or cellphone use.
“We still need to talk to him,” trooper Keith Leary said. “It’s still an unknown. It’s still under investigation.”
Lynn Wood drives on that stretch of road where the accident occurred many times and said there have been many collisions there over the years. She feels they need to finish fixing the road and put in concrete barriers to separate the lanes.
“This isn’t the first (accident), and hopefully it will be the last. This doesn’t have to keep happening,” Wood said.
Added Sandy Frazier about completing the road construction: “Dad says there’s good in every situation. This could be the good in this; let their deaths be a catalyst to help push this forward. We don’t want anybody else to go through the hell that we’re going through right now. It’s just unfathomable.”
No construction was going on in the immediate area on June 16, Leary said, adding that the only construction happening was at the Snohomish River Bridge project well east of where the crash happened.
A Washington State Department of Transportation spokesperson said workers keep an eye on the roads and close parts of them when repairs are needed.
Eric Stevick of the Everett Herald, a Sound Publishing newspaper, contributed to this report.