James Harrison "Harry"|
James Harrison (Harry) Matchett, PhD., pioneer in the Northwest health food business and owner of Burien Special Foods for over 40 years, died on March 13th of congestive heart failure and related complications. He was 91 years old.
Harry was born in Seattle on April 3, 1921 to James and Eva Matchett. He graduated from Garfield High School and was attending McGill University, in Montreal, when he was drafted during WWII. He served in the South Pacific from 1943 to 1946 as a sergeant in the Army Medical Corps. In 1944 he met Mary Louise Bush at a USO dance in Atlanta, GA. They were married a year later and settled in Seattle after Harry's discharge from the army. They had three children.
In 1947 Harry completed his BA degree at the University of Washington. He worked in the wholesale salmon business until 1956, when he became interested in nutrition and began working in a downtown Seattle health food store, Brewster's Special Foods. Within three years he owned his own health food store, Burien Special Foods, and by 1965 he'd earned his Master's and PhD in Nutrition.
Harry and Mary Lou divorced in 1966 and in 1968 Harry married Dorothy Jorgeson. They were married for 45 years and shared many happy times together, including vacations to Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska, the Oregon Coast, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean. They also enjoyed spending time at their cabins on Orcas Island and Mason Lake.
Harry continued to grow his business and during the 60's and 70's he had the privilege of working with internationally known nutrition experts Gayelord Hauser, Adelle Davis, Carlton Fredericks, and Linus Pauling. He also hosted Healthline, the first talk show in Seattle that focused on nutritional issues. Healthline was on the air for seven years.
Harry was an active member in The National Dietary Foods Association and The Northwest Dietary Foods Association, and served as president of both. In addition, he was a longtime member of The Rotary Club of Burien and served as their president from 1979 to 1980. He later joined the Federal Way Rotary Club when he and Dorothy moved from Burien to Federal Way.
Harry was a kind, loving, generous man who cared deeply about his family, his friends, and his clients. He was also deeply spiritual and dedicated his life to helping others. He left this world knowing that he was well-loved and had touched many lives while he was here with us. He will be greatly missed.
Harry was preceded in death by his parents, his older sister, Eldreith, his older brother Keith, his stepsons Douglas and Bill, and his former wife, Mary Lou. He is survived by his wife Dorothy, daughter Diane Davis, daughter Kay Dorris (Steve), son Robert Matchett (Sally), stepdaugher Lynn Jorgeson, stepson Mike Jorgeson (Carma) stepdaughter Roberta Wilson (Tim), and stepson Tim Jorgeson (Maryann), as well as 16 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
The family wishes to extend its deepest appreciation to the staff at Columbia Lutheran Home for making Harry's stay there so enjoyable and taking such excellent care of him in his final days. We would also like to acknowledge Bob McKenzie and Millie Morgan for being wonderful, caring friends who meant the world to Harry. At Harry's request, there will be no funeral service. See online Guest Book at www.Legacy.com.
Published in The Seattle Times on Mar. 24, 2013