Marshall “Dean” Pittenger lost his battle with cancer Friday morning February 26th. His wife Andee Chosch Pittenger lost her best friend. Dean left us just shy of the full Snow Moon which was appropriate for someone who loved to ski as much as he did. He spent his last days at home with his beloved Andee and their cats. During this time, he was surrounded by friends who serenaded him, so the room was full of music and love.
The day Dean was born the world became just a little bit better place. We are sure he immediately started doing good deeds for all who knew him, which he continued to do for the next seventy years. Dean was born February 4, 1951 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His family first moved to Wyoming then to Lompoc, California where Dean morphed from cowboy to surfer.
As a young man, Dean served his country by joining the Air Force. He was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force base in Anchorage Alaska, where he worked as a medic. While in Anchorage, he completed a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in nursing, from the University of Alaska. It was there that he met and married the love of his life Andee Chosch. When their time in Alaska was completed, they moved to Pullman, Washington where Dean pursued the other love of his life, Archaeology. He completed a master’s degree in Anthropology at Washington State University in 1986. His thesis was on the study of chipstone tools in the Aleutians. He spent time on numerous digs: including timber sales in Southeast Alaska, Juneau road surveys and on sites at Lake Cushman Reservoir Washington. Locally, he did construction monitoring in Spokane to protect archaeological resources.
In the 80’s he started another career as an IT Specialist for WSU. He spent many years keeping the College of Agriculture connected to the internet and each other. It was during that time that he took up the job of maintaining the computers of his many happless friends. KRFP, Radio Free Moscow also benefited from Dean’s computer and internet skills. He diligently solved many of the technical computer issues encountered by the commercial free, nonprofit radio station.
Snow skiing was one of Dean’s many passions. He learned to ski at Alyeska ski hill outside of Anchorage. Because he always liked to go the extra mile and help others, he joined the volunteer Ski Patrol at the North/South Ski Bowl in the 80’s. Later, he patrolled at the Silver Mountain Ski Resort. He became a Winter Emergency Care Instructor and helped teach new patrollers everything they needed to know. Every Fall, he would spend days in Coeur D’Alene and Silver Mountain helping to teach patrollers first aid, refresher classes, CPR and chair evacuation on steep snowy hillsides. He was a wild and crazy man, but dependable, with safety always being his number one priority.
Locally, he helped out with the Moscow Renaissance Fair for many years, before serving as President of the board for five years and Vice Pres. for many years after that. He faithfully continued to help with the Ren Fair even after those duties were over. His ideas and help to pull off this big event will be sorely missed. He also served on the Moscow Food Co-op board for two years during turbelent times.
Over the years Dean and Andee travelled far and wide to enjoy the Grateful Dead, Railroad Earth and many other great bands that would show up in the Pacific Northwest. At one point, Dean realized he could have fun and be of service working at the medical tent as a volunteer at music festivals. In recent years, their happy music place was the NW String Summit at Horning’s Hideout in Oregon. They not only got to enjoy the music, but be of of service to Harmony Event Medicine. Their tent also had one of the best seats in the house.
Dean was an accomplished guitar player and spent many hours making music with friends. He was a joy to play with regardless of where or when. It should also be mentioned that Dean had a wicked sense of humor and an amazing Hawaiian shirt collection. Dean was everyone’s best friend and brother. He was kind, gracious, generous, helpful, and loved by all. Quick to praise and slow to fault, always ready to say those words that must have been his mantra, "How can I help?”. There is no correct way to say that Dean will always be missed because it is much bigger than that. His open heart and giving hands will be missed by everyone. We were blessed to have had him in our lives.
We know wherever Dean is now, he has just finished a double latte after a full day of powder skiing and is happily snoring his way home.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Andee Chosch-Pittenger, sister Michele Pittenger, brother Tom H. Pittenger, sister in-law Jodi M. Pittenger, their sons Thomas H. Pittenger and Nicholas A. Pittenger.
There will be a memorial service for him in the summer with lots of music, when we hopefully can gather again safely. Funeral arrangements were taken care of by Shorts Funeral Home. In lieu of gifts or flowers, donations can be made to the Moscow Renaissance Fair or KRFP, Radio Free Moscow.
To send flowers to Marshall's family, please visit our floral store.