Lyle Layton Hartzell


Lyle Layton Hartzell, passed away February 12, 2023.

Lyle Layton Hartzell was born in Florence, Oregon on April 30, 1934, to Mildred Emma Harrington Hartzell and Lyle Layton Hartzell, Sr. on 327 Laurel Street in Florence and passed away February 12, 2023, in Florence.  He attended school in the Siuslaw School District and later went on to college at Southern Oregon University and Linfield University, playing basketball and baseball.  His initial desire was to be a teacher but “The Sea” became his passion.  He met his beloved wife Arlene and returned to Florence to start a family and work on the ocean. Lyle was known to many as Ozzie or Ossie, and was a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and a friend to countless others.  He is survived by Arlene, sister Marilyn Pogan, daughter Gail Knabe, sons Scott and Tristan, and his grandchildren Cambrie, Zack, Madeleigh, Eva, Mykah, Jonathan, Caitlyn, and Emma.  


Lyle was a Florence native with his ancestors being early settlers on the Siuslaw River and captaining boats along the river.  In his early days, he worked as a trapper and logger.  He was on a Sause Bros. tugboat named the Klihyam, pulling a barge loaded with lumber when it ran aground on the Siuslaw River Bar on September 27, 1958.  He was the last person rescued from the boat.  Later, he became a successful commercial fisherman and businessman.  His first commercial fishing boat was named the Gail Ann, a 32-foot wooden vessel that he fished alone on.  Later, his commercial fishing boats ported out of Newport, Florence, Winchester Bay, and Coos Bay, hiring many local crews. He first partnered with his dad, Lyle, and later his son, Scott, and was one of the first commercial fishermen on the West Coast to harvest Dungeness crab.  His fisheries over the years also included salmon, black cod, albacore, and shrimp.  For business ventures he started with The Crab Stand on Highway 101 (now the Crab Kettle), and later went on to own restaurants in the Bay Area and establish 3 different seafood processing plants in Oregon. 


He was known for his generosity, having established the Brittany Hartzell scholarship foundation, and giving to countless other charities, foundations, and churches as well as family and friends.  Rarely was anyone turned down in a time of need.  His humor was subtle with impeccable timing and indelible one liners.  He gave everything to his employees, friends, and family. To know Ozzie was to love Ozzie. 


It is so hard for us to believe this mountain of a man is gone.  He was so strong, enduring, and there for all of us.  He was truly the most generous and thoughtful man we have ever known.


Lyle was preceded in death by his treasured daughter Brittany, sisters Betty Lou Buss and Ardith Bernhardt, and parents. His service will be at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Florence on February 24th at 11am.  Donations in his memory can be given to the Brittany Hartzell scholarship fund managed by the Western Lane County Foundation.