Port Ludlow: Wife remembers spirit of motorcyclist killed in collision near Hood Canal Bridge

PORT LUDLOW — Joan Virdell vividly remembers meeting the man who would become her husband.

It all happened at a Denny’s restaurant in Renton.

“This guy swept me off my feet, and we married six weeks later,” she recalled Tuesday.

“It was really something, because I had been single for nine years and swore I’d never marry again.”

Her husband, 57-year-old Charles L. Virdell, was killed on state Highway 104 near the Hood Canal Bridge earlier Tuesday.

He died doing something he loved to do: riding motorcycles.

Mr. Virdell commuted to the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Seattle almost daily on his blue 2002 BMW K1200 R motorcycle.

There he worked as an analyst for a national spinal cord injury research program.

“He called himself a computer gumby,” Mrs. Virdell said.

Outside of work, he was a member of the Christian Motorcycle Association.

He rode motorcycles a lot in the 1960s and ’70s, Mrs. Virdell recalled.

After the couple met, she was apprehensive about him riding, so he sold his bike.

In recent years, she grew more favorable to the idea and even started riding motorcycles herself.

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