John Frederick Longmate, 96, passed away peacefully at his Silverdale home on Nov. 28, 2016.
Born on July 1, 1920 in Port Gamble to Francis (Frank) and Ida Erlandson Longmate, he was the third of six children and raised in Kingston, where his father owned a logging company. He graduated from North Kitsap High School in 1938 with the second-highest GPA in his class and started college at the University of Washington.
With World War II imminent, he began a four-year apprenticeship at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in 1940, completing it in two years. Because the work at PSNS was so important to the war effort, he was restricted from joining the service. In 1944, he was allowed to enlist in the Navy and was sent to New Caledonia in the South Pacific where he led efforts to repair damaged ships.
After his return to PSNS, John took educational leave to complete a bachelor’s degree in industrial management and statistics. In 1947 while at University of Washington, he met his future wife, Ruth. In 1950, he returned to duty during the Korean War, receiving a commission as a lieutenant (jg) in Naval Intelligence and was assigned to the Pentagon. He remained active in the Seattle Naval Reserve Intelligence Unit, retiring as a lieutenant commander with 21 years of service.
On Nov. 24, 1950, John married Ruth Howe and they raised their five children at the family home near Silverdale. At PSNS, he worked in management planning and review, progressed to first line supervisor in the Shipfitter shop, and in 1963 he was selected as Structural Group superintendent, head of Shipfitter, Welder, Boilermaker, and Sheet Metal shops until his retirement in 1978, with 37 years of civilian federal service.
John was active in various organizations, including Scouts and Pee Wees, and served on the boards of the Navy Yard Metals Trade Credit Union (now Kitsap Credit Union), Puget Sound Naval Base Association, National Association of Superintendents, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, YMCA, Bremerton Tennis and Swim Club (now KTAC), and Central Kitsap School Board.
John enjoyed cooking breakfasts for his family, fishing, hiking, camping, boating, golfing, playing bridge, and annual motor-home trips south during winter months. He was dedicated to making his home and property a fun place. He rigged up a zip line (cable slide) from a cherry tree to a madrona tree by the beach (which provided quite a ride and no casualties over several decades of use), and built a tree house in an apple tree. Yearly, including this last spring and summer, he would get down on his knees to weed the raspberry patch.
John’s waterfront property has long been used for such gatherings as family parties, high school reunions, grade school excursions, and, until 2015, PSNS summer picnics.
John was a source of strength and encouragement to all, perhaps especially to his late wife Ruth, who, in 1955 as a young mother with four children, suffered paralytic polio that caused her to lose the use of her right leg and partial use of her left arm. He was steadfast in countering any despair and saw to it that she was able to raise her children without compromise.
John is survived by his five children, Jack (Beatriz) of Poulsbo, Janet Hutchison (Coe) of Port Townsend, Jim of Bremerton, Steve (Helen) of Poulsbo, and Carol Smiley (Chuck) of Bremerton; 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; sister, Betty Lindman of Colville; and brothers Elmer and Bill Longmate, both of Hansville.
John was preceded in death by his wife Ruth in 2010, parents Frank and Ida Longmate, brother Leroy, and sister Loretta Morey.
A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. Dec. 17 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 700 Callahan Drive, Bremerton. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the March of Dimes or the Salvation Army.