Memorial services have been scheduled for Aug. 24 for Jack Fabulich, one of Tacoma’s most able and energetic business and civic leaders.
Fabulich died Aug. 10 of Alz- heimer’s disease at a University Place care center. He was 84.
Fabulich had a dual career as a Tacoma businessman and as a leader in the maritime community. He served as a member of the Port of Tacoma commission for 31 years before his retirement in 2007. Fabulich also was a key executive at Tacoma-based Parker Paint Co., spending his whole working career at the paint manufacturer and retailer. He was Parker Paint president and chief executive officer from 1982 through 1993. In addition to his business and civic achievements, Fabulich was a devoted family man, said family members.
“Jack was compassionate and concerned,” said Dolores, his wife of 60 years. “He was so proud of his children and their accomplishments.”
He and his wife had one son, two daughters and two grandchildren.
Fabulich’s son, Jack, said he remembers his dad as a thorough planner and able doer.
“His motto was ‘If you’re going to do something, do it well,’” he said.
Fabulich was not just a passive office holder or executive, said his friends and acquaintances, he accomplished much in his lengthy civic and business career.
“Jack Fabulich represents the very best of Puget Sound. It is no overstatement to say Jack is a legend,” said University of Puget Sound President Ronald Thomas on Fabulich’s retirement from the port commission.
Fabulich, a 1951 graduate of UPS predecessor, the College of Puget Sound, was past president both of the university’s alumni association and its board of trustees.
He received the UPS Lifetime Alumni Achievement Award in 1996 and the Alumni Community Service Award in 2001. He was awarded Sigma Chi’s highest honor when he was named to the Order of Constantine.
Under his guidance, the Port of Tacoma changed from a small port handling mostly bulk cargoes to a major player in the container import game. When Fabulich took office in 1976, the port handled 85,000 container units. When he retired, the year he retired some two million containers crossed the port’s docks.
Fabulich played a pivotal role in the resolution of the contested claim of the Puyallup tribe to hundreds of acres in the Tacoma Tideflats, Puyallup River Valley and in downtown Tacoma. The settlement he helped broker cleared up title to those properties, gave the tribe new money and valuable land. That settlement allowed the port to proceed forward with its plans to raze the Blair Bridge to provide better access to its terminals and gave potential new businesses more clarity about land ownership.
When Fabulich retired, his fellow port commissioners renamed the five-story Port Business Center office building the Fabulich Center. The longtime port commissioner also was honored as Pierce County’s Maritime Man of the Year in 1995. A decade later he was named a Living Legend of the Working Waterfront. The Washington Public Ports Association, of which he had been president, granted him lifetime membership.
The Port of Tacoma Commission noted Fabulich’s passing at its Thursday meeting.
“Jack served this port is so many ways,” said port chief executive John Wolfe. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
In addition to his business and civic accomplishments, Fabulich won fame for his athletic abilities.
Fabulich played football, basketball and track at Puyallup High School. His 220-yard and 440-yard track records stood for years. In college, Fabulich played football and ran track on scholarship. He was admitted into the Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
Other groups to which Fabulich belonged included Rotary 8, Elks Lodge 174, the Fircrest Golf Club, the Tacoma Orthopedic Association, the Propeller Club, the Washington Public Ports Association and the Columbia Bank board.
A memorial service for Fabulich is set for 11 a.m. August 24, at the University of Puget Sound’s Kilworth Chapel.John Gillie: 253-597-8663 email@example.com