OLYMPIA — John Spellman, the last Republican governor elected in Washington, has died at 91.
Spellman’s son, Seattle attorney David Spellman, confirmed the death Tuesday.
John Spellman served one four-year term as governor following his 1980 election. He previously served as King County’s first county executive, and before that had served on the King County Commission. He lost his bid for a second term to Democrat Booth Gardner in November 1984.
David Spellman said his father, who died Tuesday, had been in the Virginia Mason hospital since Dec. 27 after breaking his hip and eventually succumbed to pneumonia.
“He was very peaceful at the end,” he said.
David Spellman said that in the past weeks his father, who sang “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” at his inauguration in 1981, was singing Billie Holiday and Bing Crosby songs in the hospital until Saturday.
He said he also passed the time watching White House press conferences and “being very disappointed with the Cougs and the Huskies.”
David Spellman said his father will best be remembered for “listening and working toward solutions” on issues ranging from housing and affirmative action to championing farmlands and Puget Sound.