Former Gov. Spellman dies at 91

Spellman was Washington’s 18th governor

Former Gov. John D. Spellman, Washington’s 18th governor, died Monday, Jan. 15. (Washington Secretary of State’s office photo)

Former Gov. John D. Spellman, Washington’s 18th governor, died Monday, Jan. 15. (Washington Secretary of State’s office photo)

SEATTLE — John D. Spellman, who served as Washington’s 18th governor from 1981 to 1985, has died at age 91, the Seattle Times reported today.

Spellman, who was King County’s first county executive from 1969 to 1981, died Monday night, according to a spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee.

Former Gov. Christine Gregoire issued this statement on Spellman’s death: “Mike and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Gov. Spellman. John was a mentor to me while I was governor, particularly as we compared our experiences leading through recessionary periods. I asked John for his insights and he generously offered them. We may have been from different parties, but we shared a common love for the great state of Washington, its environment and its people. He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.”

State Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, said: “I’m saddened to hear about the passing of John Spellman, who served as Washington’s governor and King County executive before that. John was known as a statesman who worked well with people on both sides of the aisle.

The 26th Legislative District state senator continued: “I admired him for his civility, vision and integrity. He served the people of Washington well. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

The single-term Republican perhaps was better known for his accomplishments as county executive. Spellman helped usher in professional football and baseball in the county with the creation of the Kingdome. But the governor also notably blocked attempts to put an oil pipeline under Puget Sound, according to the Times, during his term as governor.

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