Hardscrabble Peak
Linden Klein

A tribute to Frank Pritchard

Wealth is best not measured in dollars, but in relationships.

Frank Pritchard 110703

It may be an old saying but it is not a dated one. It still rings true. I am in a job, which provides such enrichment—and amply so.

I spend my days with some of the very best people in the region who are driven to make our place all it can be. Frank Pritchard is—and as of last week I sadly have to report, was—one of these great PNW citizens. On reflection, driven may not be the right word to describe Frank. He was far too warm hearted and wise to make it fit. Steadily committed is a better choice. Whatever the descriptor, all of us at Forterra miss him.

Frank was a founding board member of Forterra, back when we called ourselves the Seattle-King County Land Trust. He deftly guided us for years from his position on the board.   Afterwards we continued to visit often: me because I sought his counsel; he because he was still committed to the place where he lived all his life; and both of us for the companionship that came from sharing the joys of the Pacific Northwest.

Michelle Connor, a colleague at Forterra, remembers Frank like this:

“I remember Frank’s response to our good friend Gerry Amandes, a liaison for members of the bands Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Gerry came to a board meeting in the early 1990s on behalf of the band members to ask that we save Hardscrabble Peak from dynamiting related to the mine located on its flanks and to make a long-term commitment to buying out inholdings within the Mid-Fork Snoqualmie River Valley. I witnessed Frank immediately connecting with Gerry, with his edgy grunge music persona, streaming long hair, beard and all. He returned Gerry’s passion, speaking for the Cascades, the Middle Fork, and the Hardscrabble project. I feel very lucky to then have spent a day hiking up to Blethen Lake with Frank, Mark Boyar and Bruce Williams. During the hike Frank said we had to protect the remaining old growth in the Mid-Fork Valley. We are still continuing to see that through. Frank would like that.”

Perhaps first off, Frank was a family man. He also was a successful business person, a quiet leader of many, many civic causes and a first-rate political strategist—his brother Joel’s come-from-behind first congressional race attests to that. Frank also was a great teller of stories about older Seattle and of his many climbing adventures in the Cascades with Governor Dan Evans and other storied partners, which he didn’t even start doing till his mid-forties.

There are many ways we can try to sum up Frank’s life of 94 years. For us, gentle and wise protector of our Pacific Northwest says it best. We are fortunate and humbled that he chose to be a leader at Forterra and I feel personally enriched to count Frank as a mentor and friend.