Cover photo for Gary Darrel Mankus's Obituary
Gary Darrel Mankus Profile Photo
1950 Gary 2022

Gary Darrel Mankus

September 14, 1950 — August 31, 2022

Cle Elum, Washington

On the morning of August 31, 2022, Gary Darrel Mankus of Cle Elum/Roslyn passed away at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Gary was 71 years old. His passing was attributed to complications associated with a life-altering hemorrhagic stroke he suffered on January 20, 2022.

Gary was born on September 14, 1950 in Ellensburg to William and Audrey (Mervos) Mankus. He was the youngest of their four children. He grew up in the small coal mining town of Roslyn, Washington. If you would ask Gary, Roslyn was a bit of a National Treasure. His beloved childhood of growing up in this small tight knit community of coal miners and loggers always brought a smile to his face. He was a Roslyn kid and very proud of it. He loved Roslyn and the "characters" as he described that made Roslyn his home. He enjoyed all that a small mountain town had to offer and especially hunting and fishing with his father and his uncle Harrold Mervos.

Gary graduated from Cle Elum-Roslyn High School in 1969 and was quick to find himself enlisting in the United States Navy. He completed his basic training in San Diego, California and was later stationed in Meridian, Mississippi as an A-4 Skyhawk jet engine mechanic. He was honorably discharged October 1973 with the rank of E-5. Gary's performance reports speak with remarks of high regard and respect, that he was an outstanding jet engine mechanic, thoroughness of his work, outstanding leadership, his willingness to help others, also stating his military behavior was truly exceptional.

Following his service in the United States Navy, Gary returned to Kittitas County and worked a few seasons with the Summit at Snoqualmie before beginning his career with the Washington State Department of Transportation out of Hyak on Snoqualmie Pass.

Scott Montgomery who was mentored by Gary had this to say, "Gary quickly became a reliable and valued part of the Highway Maintenance Team. He developed a reputation for always being willing to do whatever it took to get the job done in some of the most difficult working conditions. There was never a winter storm too big for Gary to handle and when the stresses of plowing snow wore people out, Gary's dry sense of humor always inspired a little more out of his employees. As his career at the DOT progressed Gary quickly rose through the ranks becoming a trusted leader of road crews and managed the Interstate system with a calm and thoughtful demeanor which gave confidence to his superiors and employees alike. Gary was instrumental in training numerous employees in how to operate all the necessary heavy equipment to maintain a safe highway system. There are many equipment operators in both the public and private sectors who have Gary to thank for their ability to efficiently operate heavy equipment. Gary retired just short of 37 years with the DOT in August 2012 and his influence and knowledge continues to be felt over a decade following his retirement".

Somewhere in between starting work at Snoqualmie Ski Area and the DOT, Gary met the love of his life Joanie Storey. Joanie & Gary's relationship started out over a $5 bet, which to this day he jokingly claimed she never paid. Gary and Joanie were married on October 18, 1980 by Father Graff in the Cle Elum Catholic Church. It was rumored that their wedding date was set by Father Byron during rifle deer season to test Gary, which he passed time and again. Many friends and acquaintances also questioned them building and not moving into their home on Watson Cutoff Rd. until they got married which took a couple of years. Working side by side developing their property, building a home which grew with the birth of their Son Nicholas in 1983 and Daughter Keri in 1986, Gary & Joanie displayed that they had a very special relationship which never faltered from their very first date until the day of his passing.

Over the years Gary made many true friends whom he cherished and thought the world of. He so appreciated those that reached out to him (especially after his stroke). Many of those friends were from school, work, hunting, and being a volunteer fire fighter.

Below is a quote from friend and fellow firefighter Russ Hobbs, "Saying Goodbye to Fire Commissioner Gary Mankus."

"Gary served as Fire Commissioner for 18 years with Kittitas Co. Fire District 7. Gary retired in 2009 with 24 years of service as a Volunteer Firefighter. As a newly hired Fire Chief in 2001, I had the pleasure of working with Gary and developed a friendship that would endure until Gary's passing. During his term in office, Fire District 7 would acquire multiple updated firefighting apparatus. The department also built station 75 in the Teanaway, Station 76 in Suncadia, and Station 72 located off Airport and Hwy 970; of which all was under the direction of the commissioners. Gary was more than a Commissioner, as a Volunteer Firefighter, he was a qualified Water Tender operator, he brought the water to fight fires to the scene. Volunteer firefighters have been the foundation of the fire service in Kittitas County, men like Gary Mankus, who risked it all for their neighbors. Some friends you know are always there for you and Gary was one of those friends. He was a good sounding board when tough decisions had to be made. And as a friend, I could depend on him doing what was right."

Having much respect for his heritage, Gary enjoyed mowing and caring for the Roslyn Lithuanian cemetery along with his brother Mick and other members. This allowed him opportunities to connect and share with others who were passionate about the history and heritage of the upper county.

Gary will be remembered and forever missed by his loving family that stayed by his side and worked tirelessly to get him healed and back on his feet as he struggled with the aftermath of his stroke. Gary is survived by his wife Joanie; son Nicholas (Carly) Mankus; daughter Keri (Chris) Kaestner; grandchildren Hailey and Mason Mankus (ages 4 and 1); Klaire and Carson Kaestner (ages 7 and 3); brother Michael (Teresa) Mankus as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Gary was preceded in death by his father William Mankus, mother Audrey, sisters Marlene Westover, and Virginia Boe.

The Vigil and Rosary service will be conducted at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 21, 2022 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Cle Elum. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. the following morning, Saturday, October 22, also at the Church with burial and military/fire department honors to follow at Laurel Hill Memorial Park. A Cle Elum style potluck will conclude the services at the Putnam Centennial Center (Cle Elum Senior Center).

Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Cle Elum has been entrusted with caring for Mr. Mankus and his family.  Online condolences may be left at

To send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Darrel Mankus, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Vigil & Rosary

Friday, October 21, 2022

Starts at 7:00 pm (Pacific time)

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

303 West 2nd Street, Cle Elum, WA 98922

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Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Pacific time)

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

303 West 2nd Street, Cle Elum, WA 98922

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Graveside Following

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