PASSINGS OF NOTE: Jerry Brockey, Bill Rieflin

Two passings of note, lest they be lost among this time of so much other news:

JERRY BROCKEY: You may only know him as the namesake of the Brockey Center at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), but his backstory goes much further. Mr. Brockey died in Tucson a week ago, at age 86; here’s his obituary. West Seattle historian/journalist Clay Eals pointed it out to us and noted:

For 18 years, he was the president and face of South Seattle (then-Community) College and had a lot to do with increasing the college’s stature to the point where it was called “Paycheck College” because when you graduated from its vocational programs (aircraft, automotive, bakery, beautician, etc.) you were nearly guaranteed to walk into a job. (When I worked there part-time in 1991-1993 teaching journalism and advising the student paper, I had a key fob from SSCC in the shape of a paycheck.)

Jerry also was a highly visible connector between the college and the rest of West Seattle, no easy feat given the college’s geographical isolation. An example, of course, was the handshake agreement he made with Elliott Couden, founder of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, in guaranteeing our organization meeting space and a mailing address during our fledgling days in the dozen years prior to our acquisition, renovation and opening of the museum on Alki in 1997. Speaking of handshakes, the legions who knew Jerry would agree with my assessment that there was no one in this world with a stronger handshake than Jerry.

For various reasons, I spoke with him by phone a few times in the past 10 years or so, and from Arizona he maintained his same bold, welcoming personality. He was a true force for good, worthy of admiration.

BILL RIEFLIN: When we heard about the recent death of this high-profile rock ‘n’ roll musician at age 59, we were not aware he was a West Seattle resident. Thanks to Dan Mullins for enlightening us, noting, “He was a truly amazing musician.” So say many in tribute. One of many obituaries published in memory of Mr. Rieflin is this one from Rolling Stone. His wife, acclaimed artist Francesca Sundsten, died just half a year earlier.

2 Replies to "PASSINGS OF NOTE: Jerry Brockey, Bill Rieflin"

  • Jim Moore March 28, 2020 (6:00 pm)

    Dr. Brockey also tought at Sealth High School – US history,  Biology & Physical education.  In addition to being 3rd  string football coach he organized a coed weight training pe class when I was a sophomore. The world is a much better place thanks to a talented and dedicated educator, he will be missed by many. 

  • RayWest March 28, 2020 (6:05 pm)

    R.I.P.  :-(

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