Obituaries 2012

We bid a final adieu to notable friends.
Beloved KOMO-TV anchor Kathi Goertzen, photographed in 2011

Kathi Goertzen, 54, one of Seattle’s most trusted television anchors for nearly three decades, died on August 13, after a 14-year battle with recurring brain tumors. Goertzen, a Seattle native and outspoken Cougar fan, first joined KOMO-TV as an intern in 1979, but soon became part of a long-term on-air partnership with co-anchor Dan Lewis. As her health declined, Goertzen’s openness about her cancer served as an inspiration to many; a public memorial at Fisher Pavilion drew an overflow crowd of thousands. Her incredible courage and grace are an enduring example for us all.

Chris Wedes, aka J.P. Patches, 84, beloved local clown and Seattle icon for more than 50 years. The J.P. Patches show was the longest-running locally produced children’s show in the country when it went off the air in 1981, and becoming a Patches Pal was a rite of passage for many a Seattle child. Wedes continued doing public appearances—and making people smile—right up until his death.

Jack Benaroya, 90, developer and philanthropist, donated millions to local organizations, including the Seattle Symphony for a new concert hall, Benaroya Hall, and Virginia Mason Medical Center for a new research center focused on autoimmune diseases.

Marion Oliver McCaw Garrison, 95, was a founding member of Seattle Opera Board of Trustees, and sat on the boards of the Seattle Symphony, ACT – A Contemporary Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet and others. Her four sons—Bruce, John, Craig and Keith—each donated $5 million to build Seattle’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in 2003.

James Warren, 87, war hero, historian and the former director of Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry. He wrote more than a dozen books on local history.

Zalmon “Zollie” Volchok, 95, was the general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics when the team won the NBA championship in 1979.

George Hickman, 88, a longtime usher at Seattle Seahawks and University of Washington football games, was also one of the last living Tuskegee Airmen, who flew for the U.S. military during World War II. He received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

E. Donnall Thomas, M.D., 92, former director of Clinical Research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who won the 1990 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation to cure leukemias and other blood cancers.

Louise McKinney, 82, longtime educator and patron of the arts, was the wife of the Rev. Samuel McKinney of Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church. A philanthropist who established scholarships for African-American kids, she served as a teacher and principal at a number of Seattle schools.

Martha Elizabeth Harris was a talented and much-loved Seattle florist and owner of Martha E. Harris Flowers & Gifts in Madison Park. Her strong commitment to local, nonprofit organizations included an August luncheon in her honor, which raised $200,000 for cancer research at Swedish Hospital.

Dick Yoshimura, 98, was the patriarch of the iconic Mutual Fish Company, located on Rainier Avenue S since the 1960s. Interacting with customers was his passion, and seafood was his calling. He was among those who pioneered the foundation on which Seattle’s current gastronomic landscape was built.

Patrice Benson, 59, beloved local mushroom hunter and biotech entrepreneur, was the past president of the Puget Sound Mycological Society and the founder of BenTech Biotechnology Services.

Megan Vogel, 45, beloved science teacher at Ballard High School and 2008 Golden Apple Award winner.

Jeanne Quint Benoliel, 92, professor emeritus at the University of Washington School of Nursing, was a pioneer who transformed the field of care for the dying. She was named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing in 2004.

Norbert Untersteiner, 86, legendary polar scientist, was considered the founder of modern sea-ice physics.

Don Foster, 86, owner of Foster/White Gallery for 30 years, was an important and early supporter of Seattle’s burgeoning art community.

Christopher Martin Hoff, 36, was a celebrated and prolific Seattle plein air painter.

 

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