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Paul Benjamin Kraabel

1933 - 2016
Paul Benjamin Kraabel Obituary
Paul Benjamin Kraabel

Paul Benjamin Kraabel

2 February 1933 - 12 August 2016

Former Washington State Legislator and Seattle City Council member Paul Kraabel passed away peacefully on Friday at Swedish Hospital, where he was born and where his father had surgical privileges during his medical career.

Born and raised in Seattle, Paul attended Queen Anne High School, graduated from the University of Washington, served in the Air Force from 1955 to 1957 and then worked for Boeing as an electrical engineer. After becoming involved in politics as a volunteer for the Forward Thrust transit campaign, he was elected to the State Legislature in 1970 to represent the 46th District while continuing to work at Boeing.

He became minority chair of the Transportation Committee two years later, where he was again a strong advocate of mass transit. In a 1990 interview, Paul explained with his characteristic humor how he had accepted his initial appointment to the Seattle City Council, saying that he "...wanted to have only one job, instead of two..." This led him to accept the full-time City Council position in February 1975, when he was selected to fill the Seattle City Council seat vacated by Bruce Chapman. In autumn of that year he ran for and retained his seat. He served on the Council until 1991 including two terms as Council President. He defended civil rights and was passionate and meticulous in his work on land use and planning, overseeing the historic preservation of downtown Seattle, re-examining zoning structures across the city, trying to minimize the environmental impact of I-90, and defending regulations for houseboat rental.

Paul loved Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Among his many interests and talents were poetry and writing. He was also a member of the Mountaineers and climbed Mt Rainier several times. He continued hiking into his eighth decade, often with his dear friends the Rovers, and he was an enthusiastic skier. After the tragic early death of his second wife Laurie McCutcheon in 1991, Paul endowed a scholarship in her name at Seattle Central Community College, where they served on the Board.

In 1999, Paul met Ludmila who soon became his wife. They made their home an oasis of love and good humor where he was able to remain and stay in touch with friends and family until only weeks before his death.

In addition to Laurie McCutcheon, Paul was predeceased by his son, Ian. He is survived by his wife Ludmila Kraabel, his brother Richard and his wife Barbara; his sister Judy (Brobeck) and her husband Al; Marie Noelle Deseilligny, his first wife, and three of their children, Caroline, Brett and Brita (Kiffney), as well as his six grandchildren.

"We only borrow those we love,

Tis Love that's ours to keep." (Paul Kraabel)

Donations in Paul's memory can be made to Seattle Central College via the Seattle Central College Foundation

1701 Broadway BE4180,

Seattle, WA 98122

(206) 934-5491

email:[email protected]

There will be a celebration of Paul Kraabel's life at Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway Ave, Seattle 98122, on Sunday 21 August at 2:00PM.
Published in The Seattle Times on Aug. 16, 2016
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