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Daniel Charles Blom

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Daniel Charles Blom Obituary
Daniel Charles Blom

Daniel Charles Blom, 96, of Seattle, Washington, died July 29, 2016, in Stamford, Connecticut.

Dan had a brilliant mind, the gift of eloquent and persuasive expression, and a life-long passion for languages, literature, collecting art and sailing. His library of 4,500 volumes included dictionaries in more than a dozen languages and books in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Dutch. Dan was legendary for his integrity and prolific use of arcane literary references appropriate for every occasion. During his seven decades of sailing the waters of the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands, he could point out every rock upon which he had run aground - and there were a few.

Born December 13, 1919, in Portland, Oregon, the second of two children of Charles Daniel Blom and Anna (Reiner) Blom, he spent his childhood in Aberdeen and Olympia.

A 1941 Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Washington, he taught public speaking as a University Fellow and acted as Assistant Debate Coach after graduation.

During World War II, as a 22-year-old second lieutenant, Dan served on the staff of General Douglas McArthur in Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Asiatic Campaign Ribbon.

A 1948 graduate of Harvard Law School, Dan served as law clerk to Justice Walter B. Beals of the Washington State Supreme Court, and was a Rhodes scholarship finalist. Fluent in French, he also studied comparative law and private international law at the law school of the University of Paris.

During his 53-year career as a lawyer, he was an associate of Graves, Kizer and Graves and Martin Shorts & Bever, a partner in Case & Blom, and General Counsel for Northwestern Life Insurance Company and Rainier National Insurance Company.

From 1956 until 2001, Dan was affiliated with the law firm of Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland as an associate, partner or of counsel. He also served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Director of Family Life Insurance Company. He served two terms as President of the Washington Insurance Council and also served as a Board member and General Counsel of that organization. Dan was active in and chaired several committees of the King County Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association. He edited the State Bar Journal and chaired the Board of Bar Examiners of the Washington State Bar Association. Dan also chaired six committees of the American Bar Association, and served four years on the governing Council of the Tort and Insurance Practice Section.

Dan's deep compassion for underserved members of our community, his belief in the importance of education and the arts, and his early understanding of Seattle's role in a global society, were reflected in his life-long service to the community. At various times, he served as an officer or director of The World Affairs Council, The Bush School, the Crisis Clinic, the Frye Art Museum, Friends of Freeway Park, Friends of the Seattle Public Library, Friends of the University of Washington Libraries, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Harvard/Radcliffe Club of Western Washington. He was also a long-time member of the Rainier Club.

One of the most enjoyable professional experiences of his later life was representing the United States in Union International des Avocats, an association of lawyers from 120 different countries. He was also on the board of a European foundation established by that organization, and was the founder, first president and chairman of the North American Foundation for International Legal Practice.

A rare book and art collector, Dan was also a dedicated sailor who single-handed his 32-foot sailboat until he was 90 years old. Married to Ellen Stewart Blom for 62 years, she pre-deceased him in 2014. For nearly 70 years, they lived in the Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods. Surviving is daughter Nicole Blom Heath, son-in-law Lawrence Sumner Heath III, granddaughter Sydney Stewart Heath and grandson Charles Sumner Heath, all of Stamford, Connecticut. His beloved son, Daniel Stewart Blom, pre-deceased him.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Daniel C. and Ellen L. Blom Endowed Library Fund at the University of Washington.

A memorial celebration of his life will be held at 2:00 pm, Sunday, October 30, at the Rainier Club.
Published in The Seattle Times on Aug. 7, 2016
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