By Stacy Nguyen
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Former Seattle Mayor Gordon S. Clinton passed away last Saturday afternoon. He had recently suffered a stroke. He was 91 years old.
Clinton was born in Alberta, Canada, though his family had its roots in Tennessee and the Pacific Northwest. Clinton grew up in Seattle and attended Roosevelt High School. Later, he graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in political science. He then attended the University Washington School of Law and earned a Juris Doctor (JD) there.
<!–more–>After university, he joined the FBI and served in the U.S. Navy.
After marrying his wife, Florence (nee Vayanger), he worked for the prosecuting attorney’s (Lloyd Shorrett) office in King County.
In 1955, Clinton ran for Seattle mayor. He defeated incumbent Allen Pomeroy in 1956. Clinton served to terms, from 1956 to 1964. In this post, he tackled issues of regional governance, international trade, and discrimination in housing. Clinton also established Seattle’s first sister city relationship with Kobe, Japan, in 1956 and created a 12-member Seattle Human Rights Commission.
After leaving office, Clinton practiced law and served as an attorney for the Japanese Consulate. He also did work for the Philippine Consulate and the Korean Consulate.
“Seattle has lost one of its leaders,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn in a release. “Former Mayor Gordon Clinton had a vision for our city and its future in the world. He led Seattle as we hosted the World’s Fair. And he established our sister city relationship with Kobe, Japan. Not only was Kobe Seattle’s first sister city, but it remains one of the strongest and most active. His remarkable work to build ties between our great city with the people of Japan and Asia extended beyond his time as a public servant, including helping to draft legislation to end the Alien Land Law in 1966.”
Gordon Clinton was Mayor of Seattle from 1956 to 1964.
Clinton is survived by his wife and three children.
A memorial service will take place on Dec. 7 at Bayview Manor.
For more information, visit historylink.org.