Melvin Lavern Schwisow

Melvin Lavern Schwisow

Melvin Lavern “Bernie” Schwisow (May 10, 1949 - July 2, 2021) of Sunnyside passed away at the age of 72, one day after his 48th wedding anniversary.

He was a graduate of Auburn Adventist Academy (1968) and attended Walla Walla College.

After being diagnosed with leukemia in 2020, he completed an intensive chemotherapy regimen, had a bone marrow transplant, and was deemed cancer free in early 2021. The cancer returned a few weeks later and he ran out of time to fight it off again.

Outside of high school and college, Bernie lived his whole life in the Yakima Valley. Bernie was a hard-worker and a perfectionist and was exceptionally proud of being both. He worked for years as a carpenter in the Yakima Valley and many of your homes feature his handiwork.

He loved MOPAR cars, collected Roadrunner signs, and was methodically working on restoring a ’69 Plymouth Roadrunner at the time of his death. He enjoyed collecting Hot Wheels with friends, riding his tractor, gardening, collecting artifacts and artwork representing the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama Nation, listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and spending time visiting with his friends and family.

He was an excellent father and a doting grandpa, happily bringing LEGO gifts to his granddaughter that she cherishes. His favorite memories included trips to Disneyland and attending concerts, especially Chris Isaak, with his wife and son, and going to Riverside with his brother Bob to watch a NASCAR race.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years Jan Schwisow (née Hulse); his son Jason Schwisow and his wife Crystal Periot, and his grand-daughter Imogen Schwisow; his sister Charlene Ellis and her husband Darrel; his sister Gaelynn Cecil and her husband Jerry; his brother Robert “Bob” Schwisow and his wife Gloria (née Veloz); his sister Tracey Hay and her husband Doug; his mother-in-law Ellen Hulse; his sister-in-law Jane Hulse and her husband Stan; his brother-in-law Larry Hulse and his wife Debbie (née Aust); and numerous nieces and nephews and lifelong friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin Dale Schwisow and A.Verona Schwisow, and his cousin Ronnie.

Per his wishes, he will be cremated, and no formal funeral service will be held. A family BBQ, one of his favorite things to do, will be held in his honor which will feature many of his favorite foods, his favorite people, and CCR being played loudly.

In lieu of flowers or memorial contributions, please consider visiting and joining the bone marrow registry in his honor. We love you, Papa Bernie.

Those wishing to sign Bernie’s online memorial book may do so at

Smith Funeral Home is in care of arrangements.

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