Nick Petrish died in Anacortes on December 19, 2011. Nick and I were friends since our days as grade school students at the Whitney Grade school in Anacortes over 70 years ago. We also went through Junior High and High School together.
His father "Big" Nick operated a salmon fishing boat the Traveler in the summer and Nick fished with his dad in Alaska while I fished there on other seine boats.
At Anacortes, we played on the same football and basketball teams (although he was younger and a better athlete than I was). Our lives remained joined since that time. In fact, we ended up spending the majority of adult lives working together.
After college we both came back to Skagit County. Nick became a probation officer in Skagit County and later an Allstate insurance adjustor. I was practicing law in Mount Vernon. On March 1st 1977 I talked him into coming to work with me as the office claims representative. From that date until his retirement from illness in 2011 we worked together for the next thirty four years. He was an invaluable part of the office. He did everything I did as a lawyer except give legal advice and try cases. But he was present at all of my trials, responsible for the witnesses, investigating cases, dealing with clients and keeping things organized. After we opened our Seattle law office it was up to Nick to maintain the Mount Vernon office with the great staff of paralegals. He was a member of our legal team in every respect and an essential part of our law practice.
His life time accomplishments are too numerous to describe in detail, but his long community service and work on the Anacortes City Council as well as his selection for the Liberty Bell Award stand out. Nick had many great qualities, but total honesty was one of the primary ones. You always knew how you stood with him because he was always truthful. In fact, the lawyers called him our one person jury because would evaluate our cases and wouldn’t hesitate to let us know what he thought of them, especially the ones he thought we shouldn’t take.
When I think of Nick, I will also think of his wonderful sense of humor. He saw the humor in many of the events of life. He made you laugh and his jokes were so well told we once videotaped him at an office party telling one of his stories.
He was a friend of everyone who knew him. His smile and easy going manner made friends quickly. People sensed his honesty and trusted him. Everyone saw him as their friend.
His wife fifty years Maria was his soul mate and together they were a great team. These past months of dealing with his illness for her and the children have been an enormous challenge and they have stayed the course, supporting him in every way. They were a true blessing to him. He is survived by his sons Nick and Michael. His younger brother Bobby predeceased him.
Nick was my friend and my colleague for those many years. May he rest in God’s peace.