John D. Spellman, former Governor of Washington state, died today at the age of 91.

John Spellman graduated from Seattle University in 1949 and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1953. He began his political career as a King County Commissioner in 1967 and in 1968 was elected as the County’s first ever County Executive.  As County Executive, Spellman reorganized county government eliminating an old patronage system with a merit system.  He also championed the building of the Kingdome which became the first home for the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners.

In 1980 Spellman was elected Governor of the State of Washington. He had a strong commitment to environmental protection and will be remembered for his opposition to the Northern Tier Pipeline.

After his term as Governor, he returned to the private practice of law in 1985 joining Carney Badley Spellman, P.S. Spellman remained active with the firm and community well into his 80’s and was present at the firm Holiday lunch in December.  All of the employees sang happy birthday to him.

He received the James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award in 2006. John Hughes authored a book on John Spellman in 2013, Spellman: Politics Never Broke His Heart. 

John was always positive, always seen smiling and could start up a story anytime.

See Seattle Times article.