Longtime Silverdale port commissioner reflects on career

Lawrence Greaves served as a Port of Silverdale Commissioner since 2000.

Lawrence Greaves recently announced his resignation as Silverdale Port Commissioner after serving in that role for nearly two decades.

Greaves said his resignation was due in large part to his age and his desire to see a fresh face take over. Greaves still had one year left on his term, but the port has already named a replacement until the November election. According to Greaves, there are four candidates as of now who are seeking election as a Silverdale Port Commissioner.

“I was going to try and handpick my replacement but that didn’t work out,” Greaves said with a laugh. “I thought this would be a good way for him to get his feet wet a little bit.”

The Silverdale native said he will still be around for port meetings, citing that he didn’t want to sever the relationships he’s made over the years.

Greaves’ family history goes way back and is tied into the history of Silverdale itself. Lawrence’s great-grandfather Charles Greaves, came to Silverdale in the late 19th century, buying 50 acres in the area where downtown Silverdale currently resides. Lawrence’s Grandfather, William Greaves, inherited the farm years later.

“I used to chase cows around the field,” Greaves said reflecting on the “good old days,” as he referred to them.

Lawrence’s father had a grocery store and meat market from 1937 to 1951 in Old Town Silverdale. Greaves joked that Old Town Silverdale “hasn’t changed a whole heck of a lot.” Lawrence attended Central Kitsap High School, where he was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and baseball. After graduating high school, he pursued a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Washington where he earned his Bachelor’s degree.

Initially, Greaves worked for the Shell Oil Company in Anacortes for three years before being transferred to Wood River, Illinois, near St. Louis.

“The farthest east I had ever been at that time was Los Angeles,” quipped Greaves. “I’d never been off the west coast.”

A position selling centrifugal pumps in Chicago saw Greaves move north to the Chicago area, where he and his family lived for seven years in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

As Greaves’ parents and his wife’s parents grew older, they decided to move the family back up to Silverdale to spend time with their family. Greaves found himself employed at Keyport testing torpedoes; the last job he’s had.

“Then I retired and have been living a happy life of a retiree,” Greaves said.

Even though retired, Greaves was still looking to stay involved in the community into which his family name has been etched. When Greaves saw that the Port of Silverdale had an opening for a commissioner he pounced on the opportunity.

“The commissioner who had been elected to the position moved out of the area, so they were probably scraping the bottom of the barrel,” he said modestly. “I got a call asking how I’d like being a commissioner, so I joined them and spent the next 20 years making commissioner decisions.”

Greaves said some points of pride during his tenure include acquiring the property on the end of Lowell Street and the building of the boat storage and restroom at Silverdale Waterfront Park. He also lauded the rowing and sailing programs that have been instituted in the last few years.

Greaves explained his attachment to this area, whether it’s dealing with port issues or just simply living here.

“Being born here doesn’t hurt, you don’t know any different,” Greaves said. ” A lot of it has to do with family and being associated with people I’ve known all my life; it’s been fun.”

Greaves said his future plans include “living longer” and traveling around the country and abroad to visit old friends and family.

Tyler Shuey is a reporter with Kitsap News Group, Tyler can be reached at tshuey@soundpublishing.com.