Obituary of Jack Gilbert Strother
The world became brighter when Jack was born on December 12, 1939, in the Territory of Hawaii at the U.S. Army Schofield Barracks, son of Clarence L. Strother and Dorothy E. (Hawkenbery) Craig. Jack lived in Tacoma, WA during World War II; the family lived in Germany in 1946-47 as a part of the occupational forces. They returned to Tacoma, WA where Jack attended elementary school and Jason Lee Junior High School, where his talents as a leader and an athlete first began to shine; he was 9th grade class president, a member of two baseball state championship teams, and was selected as the “nicest boy in school.” Jack graduated in 1958 from Stadium High School, where he excelled in academics, continued his athletics in baseball and basketball, served on student council, as senior class leader and PTA representative, and participated in multiple clubs and activities.
After graduation, Jack enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1958 and spent 6 months on active duty, where he was on patrol at Ocean Station November, tracking and communicating with aircraft; following active duty he was in the reserves for seven years. Jack’s love of the water and boats was something that he cherished for his entire life.
Jack enrolled in the University of Washington in 1959 and was a lifetime Husky. He joined Beta Theta Pi where he met many lifelong friends and became affectionately known as Jake; Jack served as president of his freshman class and junior IFC president. Most importantly, in the spring of his freshman year he met Peggy Lou Hull, the love of his life, while they waited in line at the HUB to sign up for a student committee. They were married on August 17, 1963 and went on to share 60 years of love and life together. Their marriage and unwavering devotion to each other was a lifetime gift and inspiration.
Jack received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in Business Administration in 1963 and his Juris Doctor from the UW in 1965, completing an accelerated BA/JD program, where he was a member of Order of the Coif and associate editor of the Washington Law Review. Upon graduation, Jack joined the law firm of Graham & Dunn where he continued to practice law for over 50 years, serving as the managing partner from 1983-1993 during a challenging transitional period, earning the trust and confidence of his colleagues through his exemplary leadership skills. Jack practiced corporate and real estate law, advising several prominent companies in their growth and expansion. Jack also practiced estate planning law and advised friends and clients through his final days. Jack was an exceptionally well-regarded and distinguished lawyer and leader; he was recognized in multiple publications over the years as one of Seattle’s and the nation’s leading attorneys. To Jack, however, his most important honor was that his peers deeply respected and trusted him, something that he genuinely valued and never took for granted.
Later in his career Jack was asked to serve on the Board of Directors for King County Medical and later the Regence Group, now Cambia Health Solutions. Jack served Regence/Cambia for over 20 years, eight of which were as Chairman of the Board. Jack found this role both challenging and rewarding, and he was deeply proud of the executive team. During his time as Chair, he earned the respect and admiration of the Board, CEO, and senior team as they transformed the company; he was viewed as a wise, skillful, and inclusive leader with a quick wit. The Cambia Board Room was named in his honor in 2013.
Jack also served as the Chairman of the Board for the Alexander Phimister Proctor Foundation, which is dedicated to the artwork of one of America’s finest Western sculptors, a role that Jack cherished and held for 25 years. Jack was also a member and leader of several non-profits and business forums in Seattle including the Washington Athletic Club, 101 Club, and president of the Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Jack loved his work, but his family and friends were his true joy. Jack was blessed with exceptional friendships, and he cherished these relationships and spoke frequently about how fortunate he was to spend his life surrounded by laughter, adventure, and love. Jack and Peggy traveled extensively with their friends, visiting 20+ countries, including three self-guided biking tours through Europe, Turkey, and Greece. In his own words, “there wasn’t a bakery, winery or castle that we didn’t stop to visit.”
Jack loved the outdoors, and he treasured time on the water. Whidbey Island, Hansville, and the San Juan Islands were favorite destinations where he loved to fish or simply walk the beach in search of an agate. In their early family days, Jack and Peggy would spend 2+ weeks with their girls in Desolation Sound in their 22’ Bayliner, ending each day with a vodka tonic, and songs from their favorite 8-tracks. The family looks back on those days as some of their most memorable times together; to Jack there was nothing quite like a night on anchor in a small cove.
Jack was a strong athlete and a fierce competitor. He was a charter member of The Torrs running group at the Washington Athletic Club, with whose members he ran countless miles and races including the Seattle, Boston, and London marathons. He was also an avid skier, and while he skied many hills, Sun Valley, Idaho was his stand-out favorite. In recent years Jack and Peggy lived in Sun Valley in the winter; Jack loved getting to the hill early to create fresh tracks with his many ski buddies, but his greatest joy was skiing with his grandsons and competing to see who skied the most vertical feet, which Jack usually won. In the summer Jack loved to bike and completed many team events, including the STP. He was also an avid hiker and traversed many peaks and trails, including summiting Mt Rainier.
Later in life Jack took up golfing, which was a constant passion and frustration. He enjoyed playing in several tournaments and Pro-Ams and attending the Masters. He was a proud 23+ year member of Broadmoor Golf Club where he played many rounds in search of the elusive hole in one (obtained by Peggy), dined with his friends and family, and delighted his grandchildren with wild golf cart rides and golf lessons.
Above all else, Jack’s greatest joy was his family. With Peggy he raised two daughters, Cathy and Amy, of whom he was immensely proud. They and their families were the light and centerpiece of Jack and Peggy’s lives. Jack became a grandpa, known as Papa, in 1999 and if there was anything in his life that he loved as much as his two daughters it was his four grandkids. He was their number one fan and supporter, attending hundreds of games, matches, meets, and tournaments. He was known throughout the community for his avid and enthusiastic support for all their endeavors.
Jack's family will miss him deeply and always. He was the rock of his family. He was playful and witty; he loved to tell a great story, always had a twinkle in his eye, and sometimes got into mischief just for the fun of it. He was someone who loved fully and was massively loved. If you knew Jack, you knew he was a lefty, something he was very proud of. In his honor, his family pledges to continue his lifelong motto: Always Go Left.
Jack was proceeded in death by his parents and stepsister Pearl Finley. He is survived by his wife Peggy Lou (Hull) Strother, his daughters Catherine Strother Farley (Jeff), Amy Elizabeth Pitts (Travis); his grandchildren Ryan & Ethan Farley and Megan & Anna Pitts; and his brother Edward Lee Strother (Sandy), his stepsister Shirley Parks, stepbrother John H. Craig III, and many nieces and nephews.