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Harold Redfield Rooks

Harold Redfield Rooks Obituary
Harold Redfield Rooks


Harold (Hal) Redfield Rooks, of Seattle and Guemes Island, passed away on October 4, 2012. He lived a full life, died peacefully, and will be warmly remembered by family and many friends.

Hal had deep roots in the Seattle area, where his family settled in 1869. He was the son of Captain Albert Harold Rooks (U.S. Navy, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II) and Edith Redfield Rooks.

Hal graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1944 with a bachelor's degree in Government and Philosophy and a commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. During World War II, he served aboard the USS New Orleans, achieving the rank of lieutenant. Following the war, Hal attended Harvard Law School on the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1949.

Hal married Harriet Fisken in 1946, and the couple moved to the San Francisco area, where Hal began his legal career. After 10 years of working for a large law firm, Hal's desire to help "remake the world" prompted him to join the United Nations. The family moved to Beirut, Lebanon in 1960 where he served as a legal officer, and then General Counsel, for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees. Although the Beirut sojourn lasted only three years, the impact and experience of his travel and time in the Middle East shaped his interests and efforts for the remainder of his life.

Upon returning to the United States, Hal and family settled in Seattle where he continued to practice corporate law from 1963 until 1991 with the law firm Helsell Fetterman. He also took on leadership positions with the Seattle Chapter of the United Nations Council, the World Affairs Council, the China Club of Seattle, and the vestry of St. Mark's Cathedral. He tirelessly advocated for the human rights of Palestinians in these venues. His passion for travel took him to Europe, China, India and Indonesia.

In 1991, Hal lost Harriet to cancer, and in 1992, he married Catherine (Cappy) McNutt. They enjoyed traveling to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, as well as spending family time in the San Juan Islands at the Rooks house on Guemes Island and the McNutt house at Friday Harbor. One of his lasting pleasures was listening to classical music.

Hal was pre-deceased by his first wife Harriet, second wife Cappy, and younger brother Albert H. Rooks, Jr. He is survived by his children: Hal, Jr. (Susan) of Anacortes, Donald (Barbara) of Bainbridge Island, Heidi (Richard) of Sacramento, CA, and Gordon (Kim) of Mt. Vernon, as well as his two grandsons Cooper of Bainbridge Island and Nate of Menlo Park, CA.

A memorial service is planned for November 11, 2012 at 3:00 PM at St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle. He will be buried next to Harriet in the Guemes Island Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Hal's family requests memorial donations in his name be made to the , the Seattle Chapter of the World Affairs Council or the .
Published in The Seattle Times on Oct. 14, 2012
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