Ramon Jones, known as "Ray," was last seen Monday shortly before noon near a dog park in Sedro-Woolley.
He had been sitting at a picnic table, seemingly enjoying the day. Then, detectives believe he walked through an open gate at a nearby facility, where they lost his trail.
His family desperately hopes this is not the end to a man who lived a good life.
"He's a very loving, good person," says his wife, Anne Jones. She says her husband Ray has been the one constant in her entire adult life.
"I was 18. ... We've been married over 57 years," she says.
The Jones raised a family together, and Ray built up a Seattle construction supply business, then he retired early so they could travel.
"Its a wonderful life," says Anne.
But during recent years, Alzheimer's shackled Ray's mind in a tangle of memories.
"He was so trapped in his body, that ... there were still these moments of clarity when you knew it was dad, he was there. Then that door would close shut again. Oh my gosh, where'd he go? I want him back," says Ray and Anne's daughter, Bonnie Jones Graham.
Bonnie believes her father simply wanted to go for a walk last Monday, and presumably stepped through an unlocked gate. The tragic possibilities are horrific to consider.
"If he fell, he's injured - of course, Skagit River is a very frightening thought, but realistic thought, for us," says Bonnie.
Volunteers are searching throughout the Skagit Valley for Ray. His family thinks there's even a chance he caught a ride to his childhood home in Montana.
His daughter says her father often mentally traveled back in time.
"He was a great storyteller - telling stories the last time I saw him," she says.
The family says it would be heartbreaking to end Ray and Anne's love story this way.
"If this is the way his life story is ending, its not fair, its not right," says his granddaughter, Heidi Graham. "He should be surrounded by his family. He should know that he's loved and cared for."
His family says anyone who meets Ray wouldn't immediately detect that he had Alzheimer's, since he could hold a conversation well.
Meanwhile, detectives are urging people all over the Skagit Valley to check their barns and outbuildings - in case Ray may be hiding there.