Remembering N. Richard ‘Rick’ Ream, 1955-2020

Family and friends have said goodbye to Rick Ream – and are sharing what he wanted you to know:

N. Richard “Rick” Ream
August 1, 1955 – November 13, 2020

N. Richard Ream made his exit on Friday the 13th. He wanted to pass along the following:

As a longtime reader, first-time contributor to these pages, I struggled on where to start. Knowing you are dying should make it easier to write an obituary… and yet. Way back in June of 2010, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, which presented a sizable but not insurmountable hurdle to the best-laid plans. It went into remission, but before I was able to get a good look in the rear-view mirror, the cancer came back in my lungs. The official diagnosis of metastatic stage four renal cancer and a fresh wave of “science experiments” (avenues of treatment to control but not reverse the spread) slowed but didn’t stop me. I probably should have revisited my obituary, but after retiring from Boeing on April Fool’s Day after 32 years, I found myself with too much to do to bother with that. I threw myself back into house projects, restoring classic cars, and the celebration of the marriage of my only daughter with not one but two ceremonies and lots of family and friends. Despite my own health battles, I visited my father five times a week at the nursing facility he resided at for two years until his passing.

Safe to say, putting off the inevitable has never been a problem. As a jack of all trades, master of none, I enjoy helping out my large extended family with their own projects. I was born on August fool’s day, as the third of four children to Norm and Virginia Ream (Lisa, Don and Mike rounded out the family). I took apart my first car engine at age twelve, and went to work part-time as a mechanic for Stromberg’s Chevron in West Seattle as soon as I could, in addition helping my father’s construction company with projects all over the Pacific. After graduation from West Seattle High School, I enrolled part time at Seattle Central Community College where I met my future wife. I received my Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics License, and hired on as a machinist with Boeing. Over the years, I got to do some pretty cool things there. Among my favorites was selective-etch titanium chemimilling and later integrating robotic arms with six degrees of freedom to improve drilling efficiency on the Boeing 787 assembly line. Initially, the robots weren’t particularly accurate, but they were deathly consistent. Problem solving to consistently produce parts within thousandths of a meter was fun stuff.

In my free time, I’ve always been a fan of racing. In my youth, I ran my ‘57 Ranch Wagon, two-door station wagon far faster than the posted speed limit, tearing up the ski slopes and skies, as well as diving around Puget Sound. With age came wisdom that drag racing might not be the healthiest activity, so I started helping others go fast; first as a crew member for unlimited hydroplanes and then later as pit crew and biggest supporter of my wife, daughter, and niece’s inline speedskating careers as they competed both nationally and internationally.

Time flies when you are having fun, and the rest of the time too. For those of you whose paths I have crossed, I’d like to thank you for making it a fun ride. Realizing I’m not going to be around forever has been somewhat of an inconvenient truth, but I’m survived by my wife of 42 years, Catherine Ream, my daughter Micki Alapati (Jay), my sister Lisa Chamberlain (Clark), my sisters-in-law Annie Wedlund, Deenie Olleman (Ed), my brother in law Steve Cross (Billie), my nieces Tara Wedlund, Natalie Robinson, and Cybil Burnside (Tony), and my nephews Andrew Davis (Mary Ellen) and Nic Cross (Charliann), as well as numerous cousins, second-cousins and friends.

Preceded in death by my father (2019), mother (1983), brother Mike Ream (1983), brother Don Ream (1983), brother-in-law David Cross (2013), niece Julie Davis (2005), cousin John King (2017), and cousin Eric King (2019). I wish to be cremated, and my ashes laid to rest on my family’s beloved Vashon Island home. At some point in the future, there will be a celebration service. In lieu of flowers, I request donations to Seafair. So long, and thanks for all the fish!

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to

10 Replies to "Remembering N. Richard 'Rick' Ream, 1955-2020"

  • Blbl November 20, 2020 (9:31 am)

    This is so lovely. 

  • SeaVieu November 20, 2020 (9:53 am)

    My sincere condolences go out to Rick’s family. He was a remarkable man and it was moving to hear about his life in his own words.  May he rest in peace.

  • AdmiralSDV November 20, 2020 (10:17 am)

    This is well written and moving. Thank you, Rick. Rest peacefully. 

  • Lola November 20, 2020 (1:19 pm)

    He sounded like a great guy, who lived life to the fullest.  Condolences to his family & friends.  Rest in Peace Rick. 

  • I’m not crying, you are November 20, 2020 (2:23 pm)

    Amazingly written. We got a true sense of Rick’s spirit. God speed, buddy! 

  • R November 20, 2020 (4:59 pm)

    Great obituary. Better man. Rest In Peace 

  • Marie Ruby November 20, 2020 (6:09 pm)

    How great that he wrote this, to all of his friends and family, and to inspire some of us who never knew him.  An inspiration to me for a future writing.  Thank you for posting to the WSBlog.

  • Gary Coy November 20, 2020 (8:48 pm)

    Was classmates with Rick through grade school at Genesee Hill Elementary School,  James Madison Jr. High and West Seattle High Class of 1973. Always remembered him as a fun loving guy.Via Con Dios mi Amigo 

  • Rick November 21, 2020 (2:01 am)

    Cool wheelie! RIP

  • Cid November 21, 2020 (7:27 am)

    Rick sounded like a great guy. My condolences to his family.

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