Dick Friel
Dick FRIEL "You only go around once in life, and if you do it right, once is enough." One of a kind, larger than life, and full of love for his family and friends, Dick Friel passed away peacefully Thursday morning at Bailey-Boushay House in Seattle. He was a giant of marketing and advertising, a true pioneer in aviation, and the king of fun - and fund-raising - as a charity auctioneer. Richard E. Friel was born Oct. 16, 1933 in Philadelphia and grew up in New York City before moving to the Northwest. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1952, saw duty in the Marine Corps as the handsomest Officers Club lifeguard in Hawaii ("Hey, nobody drowned!"), and completed his studies at the UW in 1960. His stellar marketing career ("One more business card, and I'll have enough for a coffee table") began in the "Mad Men" era and ran straight up to the present. Along the way he handled regional promotions for the Bon Marche (appearing in many of the ads); was president of Thermo-Dynamics, an Alaska-based high tech company; owned Skogland, Friel, Willey and Ware, the highly creative Seattle advertising agency; was Senior Account Manager and laugh-getter for the award-winning John Brown & Partners agency; and helped reshape the corporate image of the $450 million retail giant, Pay N' Pak. Dick's passion for aviation first took off in the 1960s as VP of Marketing for Gates Learjet. He was named Man of the Year by the American Management Association for positioning the private business jet as a "workhorse" rather than a toy. Gifted with a lifelong flair for the grand gesture, he was part of the America's Cup run of the 12-meter yacht Intrepid, and in 1988 he helped to organize "Friendship One Around the World for Kids" - the record-breaking, round-the-world flight of a Boeing 747 (in 36 hours, 45 minutes, 15 seconds) that carried 100 lucky passengers and raised $500,000 for children's charities. In 1992, after many intermediate stops, he landed on the dream team formed by Joe Clark to create and promote Blended Winglet technology. As the VP and Director of Marketing for Aviation Partners based in Seattle, his award-winning "Think Winglets" and "The Future Is On The Wing" campaigns routinely won Ad of the Year honors and were largely responsible for the successful branding of Blended Winglets with near-universal acceptance. Today, more than 3,000 Boeing, Hawker, Falcon and Gulfstream II jets worldwide are flying Blended Winglets, with a savings of 1.9 billion gallons of fuel to date. In 2009, a special award by the Museum of Flight recognized Dick's lifetime achievements. And, did somebody say charity? Raise those paddles. Along with his lovely wife and "Vanna White of the auction circuit," Sharon, the "Million Dollar Man" was the go-to gala auctioneer for over 30 years and 2,500 events in the US and abroad. Together, Dick and Sharon raised a whopping $300 million dollars for a list of worthy causes much too long to list here. It was an act that traveled beautifully. They introduced the charity auction concept to Australia, were annual guests of the Australian Opera Auction in Sydney and set a record Down Under by raising $1.1 million in one night for the arts in Melbourne. In 2001, Dick and Sharon also shared the Pennington Award, the highest recognition given by Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, for their dedication and service. Dick also brightened the boards of PONCHO, the Seattle Symphony, Big Brothers of King County, the Washington Arthritis Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Children's Clinic, and many others. Never one to flee the stage ("He did 20 minutes every time the refrigerator light came on"), Dick was featured in hundreds of radio and TV commercials, and played the role of Bob Mahoney in the John Wayne film, McQ. His fabulous partnership with Sharon was sealed in 1963 when she was Emmett Watson's assistant. On his third try at proposing ("I'm closing now, it's your last chance") he succeeded in getting her to say yes. Forty years of priceless Christmas letters, written by Sharon with one-liners by Dick, tell the tale of a lively home life. The boys, Rick and Chris, appear in pictures with Santa starting in '66 and '68. They survive a KISS concert, start rock bands with their parents as roadies, take family trips to Lopez and Maui, join in roaring holiday feasts and never lose the love and support of their mother and "Mr. Wonderful." To make a long story short, Dick Friel did it right. Dick is survived by his wife, Sharon, sons Rick and Chris, daughter-in-law Kim, sister-in-law Carolee, and her husband Tom Mathers. A celebration of his life will be held on Monday, January 25th, at 4:00 p.m. at the Museum of Flight, beginning with a flyover of jets in the "missing man" formation. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name may be made to The Dick and Sharon Friel Endowment for Uncompensated Care at Seattle Children's Hospital; The Seattle Foundation; The Museum of Flight; or the Lopez Island Historical Museum. In closing, Dick liked to joke that it's always a good day when you don't see your name in the Obituaries. For those who knew him, that megawatt grin will never fade. He deserves to get the last word: "I love you, babe. Onward & upward. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU."
Published by The Seattle Times from Jan. 19 to Jan. 20, 2010.
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8 Entries
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
We are thinking of you each and everyday. Here is to a wonderful man, father and husband.
Nikol Fiala
January 25, 2010
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Beverly Richdale
January 23, 2010
We worked with Dick on the big PONCHO auction for 5 years, staging songs and entertainment in between the auction items. Whenever Dick was on stage he would belt out "Cabaret Productions... aren't they great? Let's give 'em a big hand". Dick always made you feel like a high roller, he always remembered your name and what you were up to. He was a rare personality and I would never turn down an event that he was associated with. Deepest sympathies to you, Sharon and your family. -Jim Anderson (Seattle, WA)
January 22, 2010
I hope this gets to you. I read about your husband in the Seattle Times. It sounds like the two of you had a very full life. I am sorry about your loss and wish the best for you and your family.
Richard Courteau, Silver Spurs 57
PS Kris and I know Brady Hammerich of Stokes Auction. Brady goes to our church.
richard courteau
January 21, 2010
I am one of the many whose life has been touched by the Friel family. Our world is a much better place because of them! May you rest in peace Dick and may memories filled with laughter and love surround Sharon, Rick, Chris, Kim and Anna! Love to you all!
Lisa Ecklund
January 21, 2010
Everyone is gifted-but some people never open their package-Dick certainly opened his.

My thoughts and condolences to Sharon and Dick's sons Rick and Chris.

Darryl Ware
Skoglund Friel Willey and Ware 1962
January 20, 2010
Dick was one of my most favorite patients EVER (at Dr Hamada's). He always brought SO MUCH joy and laughter with him, and loved those bear hugs too. I was so sorry to read of his passing, but Sharon, Rick, Chris and all it must be good to know you have a VERY SPECIAL guardian angel watching over you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Linda Bissett
January 20, 2010
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Deidre Kennedy
January 19, 2010
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