Memorial, fund for West Seattle man who died after Christmas-lights accident

Family and friends are mourning West Seattle business owner Brian Teachout, who died last Friday, after surgery for an injury suffered while putting up Christmas lights. They also have set up a fund to help his wife – laid off by the former Washington Mutual – and children. Here’s the story, and a photo, shared by family friend Candace:

Just over a week ago, Brian Teachout, owner of Alki Home and Garden, was doing what he loved to do during the holidays… helping clients hang Christmas lights. Unfortunately, while in the process of hanging lights, the ladder Brian was using slipped out from under him. He fell, shattering his left shoulder. Surgery was scheduled and took place Wednesday, December 8th. Two days after going through reconstructive shoulder surgery, and while recovering at home, Brian suddenly died.

Brian was just 46 years old. He and his wife Tammy were blessed with a son, Owen. Then a few years ago they opened their hearts and home, and made room in their lives to adopt a niece, McKenna, and nephew, Levi, after the children’s mother died unexpectedly.

When the three children came home from school last Friday, just two weeks before Christmas, their mother and family had to give them the hard news of their father’s passing. This would be a tragedy at any time of the year, but with the holidays and three children excited about Christmas, it presented a severe challenge to Tammy, as she recently lost her job at Washington Mutual after 20 years, and with it a significant change in her health insurance.

Brian had a heart of gold and devoted his time to his wife, three children, family and many friends. He was a longtime West Seattle resident and delightful character; you might have crossed paths with Brian. Dependable and delightful, for many years he was always there to help so many West Seattle residents maintain our homes, yards and put up our lights. Brian loved to be in the garden … and we will all miss seeing him in it!

It is a tough economy and we are all facing tighter budgets this holiday season. However, if you are looking for a family to assist in some way .. or if you are part of an organization that can help … please keep Tammy and the Teachout children in mind.

Individual donations can be made to the ‘Brian Teachout Memorial Fund’ established to benefit his children – deposits can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank branch.

For organizations or individuals who wish to make a tax-deductible donation in excess of $500, the 501(c)3) Sharing Foundation has generously offered to manage your contributions. For details on donating to the Teachout Family Fund through the Sharing Foundation, please contact Andy at 206-679-8909.

A memorial service will be held Friday 12/17/10 at Noon at The Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave SW in West Seattle. A gathering and refreshments will follow.

29 Replies to "Memorial, fund for West Seattle man who died after Christmas-lights accident"

  • MB December 14, 2010 (1:42 pm)

    This breaks my heart and hits close to home. We lost my Dad at 47 around this time of year…in fact, his funeral was on Dec. 8th 2001. My thoughts and prayers are with Brian’s family, especially his wife. I know how hard it was for my Mom. Wish I could give Tammy a big hug ;(

  • hopey December 14, 2010 (2:33 pm)

    How terribly sad. Is there any opportunity to help the family by purchasing gifts for the kids?

  • funkietoo December 14, 2010 (2:45 pm)

    Good question hopey. I had the same thought. Also, do they have any family pets….if so, Furry Faces Foundation might be able to assist pet food, etc.

  • Lola December 14, 2010 (3:43 pm)

    Such a really kind, honest, good person. The world really is a bit colder by his loss.

  • with sympathy December 14, 2010 (4:10 pm)

    I hate to sound “hookey”, but it’s things like this that really bring home what the holidays are really all about. My prayers go out to the family. Please post all avenues we can help out with them during this rough time.

  • John Douglas December 14, 2010 (5:12 pm)

    This is terrible. I’m sorry to hear about it, and my prayers are with his family. Reminds us all to be careful, because something as seemingly safe as putting up lights has obvious risks. Be safe!

  • Beth December 14, 2010 (5:24 pm)

    This breaks my heart. I am SO SORRY. My prayers are with you.

    I will turn on my Christmas lights tonight and look up with a smile (and a tear).


  • Meghan December 14, 2010 (5:41 pm)

    How truly tragic. It’s a good reminder that life is so precious – and precrious. I plan to donate to the fund tomorrow. I sure wish there was more I could do.

  • Tammy L. December 14, 2010 (6:13 pm)

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Please know that your family will be in my families thoughts and prayers throughout the holiday season and the times ahead.

  • sp December 14, 2010 (6:52 pm)

    I’m so sorry for such a tragic loss. Too sad for words.

  • hk December 14, 2010 (11:05 pm)

    Arrangements by Howden-Kennedy Funeral Home of West Seattle.

  • Tiara December 14, 2010 (11:23 pm)

    I know the Teachouts and they are a wonderful family. So amazing for them to have adopted their nephew and niece, only to have something like this happen. I am praying for peace and that the love they share will get them through this awful tragedy. I recently lost my grandmother who had adopted us and feel their pain. Tammy all of us at 35th Ave Chiro are here for you if you need anything.

  • Pat December 15, 2010 (12:06 am)

    I was a childhood friend of Brian’s and knew him well until we graduated from Inglemoor High School. We grew apart after this as I went to the UW and he pursued his trade in
    printing. I only ran into him occasionally in the 80’s and failed to keep in touch. I feel so bad now for forgetting about such a good friend! He was a real hard worker even at an early age starting with his paper route. I would occasionally help him with this and is one of my fondest memories of him. I, along with some 15-20 of our old classmates similar in age have moved back to our neighborhood in Kenmore and are now raising our kids here. I have begun sharing his story and will be making a notice and a plea for help for his family with the other families at Arrowhead Elementary in hopes of helping.
    I work on ladders almost every day and was on one the whole day before hearing of his passing and it really hit home! I can’t imagine what my wife and kids would do if
    this happened to me and I hope all of you think of this too!
    He was a great friend and a good soul and I am deeply sorry for having lost touch with him and would like to wish his family and close friends the best!

    We all loved you BT! Light up the sky for us this Holiday!

  • LunaPark December 15, 2010 (8:22 am)

    We are so sad for this loss to the Teachout Family and our community. You are all in our prayers.

  • Page Wright December 15, 2010 (8:39 am)

    My heart goes out to Tammy and her kids- what a tragedy and tremendous loss. As a former Wamulian, I’d like to help as I too lost my job when Chase bought us out and just found employment after 2years.

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. My favorite scripture through these rough times. Hope those words can be of comfort to you. God Bless!

  • Alki Resident December 15, 2010 (8:56 am)

    Just the thought of a child loosing their daddy breaks my heart.I know theres strength in numbers and Im positive this community will come together and do what they can for the Teachout family.You will be blessed just you wait.

  • Kristen December 15, 2010 (9:40 am)

    This family is good friends with a family that I’m very close to. Since I heard about Brian’s sudden passing last week, I’ve had a nagging feeling in my heart- a hopeless feeling, I guess. Here was someone I only met once (while attending a birthday party, I had the privilege of meeting his overwhelmingly kind family), and this news still felt like getting a violent shake from some unseen force.

    Thank you for posting this, so I and everyone else knows that there’s something they can do, however small it may be, to help. I will absolutely donate to the fund, but would also be interested in any information about donating holiday gifts and provisions to the family, if possible.

    My heart and prayers to everyone affected by this loss.

  • Holly (Esvelt) Rollosson December 15, 2010 (10:44 am)

    I formerly worked at Hudson’s Portraits, and had the joy of watching Brian play Santa every year at Christmas. He was perfect for the role, as he embodied everything good and gentle that that legendary character stands for, especially his love of children. Brian was one of the best and kindest people I’ve had the privilege of knowing.

  • Kristen December 15, 2010 (5:28 pm)

    FYI: KOMO 4 will be airing a story about the Teachout family tonight at 6:30. For anyone who misses that, I’m sure they’ll replay the story in the 11pm broadcast and possibly have video on their website.

  • westseattlelights December 15, 2010 (6:52 pm)

    Just heard the sad news…so we think it only appropriate that any and all donations that The Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular receive this weekend (Friday thru Saturday) will be given to the Teachcourt Family…

  • C.J. Ross December 15, 2010 (7:23 pm)

    My thoughts and prayers are with Tammy and her children during this very difficult time. This is such sad news.

  • Jeff December 15, 2010 (7:59 pm)

    Brian was one of my best friends.We both went to Arrowhead Elementary, i don’t remember exactly which grade it was but my family has pictures of us as cub scouts.From there it was lots of soccer, Jayteens,bike rides “at all hours”,paper routes,
    girl friends,jobs (he @ Cians and me at Nicks), cars-his pride and joy Nova.So many memories were made when he got his license and his Nova we went every where.High school years at Inglemoor were memorable because of friends like Brian, he had many “best friends” because he had so much friendship to spread around and I am proud to have been one of them.Some years after graduating Brian moved all the way out to West Seattle and our lives just got hectic with the lives we were building.I was lucky enough to have him stand with me at my wedding in 87′.We kept in touch while he was in West Seattle doing the remodel on the basement of his grandparents house(he wanted some input on lighting).It was about this time i think he met his future wife Tammy and a few years later his son Owen came along.He was so happy and proud in the roles of husband & dad.I do wish in these later years we had more contact but with just a few of my memories shown above i choose to remember Brian as my friend,a loving husband and awesome dad.He will be missed!!

  • miws December 16, 2010 (7:13 am)

    Here’s a link to the KOMO 4 vid that Kristen referenced:



  • MAbeo December 16, 2010 (5:01 pm)

    We are personal friends of the family through the oldest son, Levi – who is a talented dancer at Pacific Northwest ballet. This has been such a shock to us all – who were lucky enough to even know a part of Brian. I have visited with Tammy and she is so appreciative of all of the support;

    I would hope all of this exposure would help find her a job – 20 years with WAMU and then getting laid off – is so tough. Please spread the word in your work fields and lets find her work!

  • teddydog December 16, 2010 (5:51 pm)

    The Brian Teachout Memorial Fund has been established to benefit his children. Deposits may be made at any Wells Fargo Bank branch.

  • Dorothy December 16, 2010 (7:59 pm)

    I knew Brian from High School; even though we weren’t close friends, I remember him being such an approachable person. My heart aches for his children & wife. My prayers are with them now.

  • Marit Krueger December 16, 2010 (9:55 pm)

    I, too, knew Brian from Arrowhead Elementary, Kenmore Junior High and Inglemoor High School. I have really fond memories of Brian and am so sorry to hear about this tragedy. I will keep Tammy and the children in my thoughts and prayers at this time. I hope that, while his death comes at Christmas time, it will not dampen the holidays, but intead, that all can think of the wonder of his life and joy that he brought to so many. Fondly, Marit Knorr Krueger

  • Susie Stendera December 17, 2010 (12:11 am)

    Many tears have been shed not only by me, but by many from this tragic loss. Not only was BT my high school sweat heart, he was my forever friend. I cannot say enough about Brian that would truly express what a wonderful man this world has lost. He so enjoyed his life, was so proud of his family, and loved them deeply. To my childhood friend Tam’, I love you and will always be here for you. When you look to the night sky and find your star, Brian is there.

  • Jamie December 17, 2010 (6:28 pm)

    I know so many of us reading this wish we could do more than just donate money (which I know will be greatly needed and appreciated!), but it just doesn’t seem to be enough in light of such a tragedy.

    WSB- please keep us readers informed if there is anything we as a community can do to help the kids this holiday season- bring toys, food, a visit with santa, anything. I have a feeling we’ll come forward in droves. My heart goes out to the family and kids. Just remember you may have lost your dad and husband, but there is still *a lot* of love left in the world. Never give up hope. Hugs.

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