Cover photo for M. Wayne Blair's Obituary
M. Wayne Blair Profile Photo
1942 M. 2022

M. Wayne Blair

October 17, 1942 — June 3, 2022

M. Wayne Blair, 79, of Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo, Washington passed away Friday, June 3, 2022, following a brief illness. Anne, his wife of 55 years, and their three children, Jessica, Chris, and Jeff were able to be with him as he peacefully caught his “last ferry boat home.”

Wayne was born and raised in Spokane, Washington to Grace and Marshall Blair. He graduated from Lewis & Clark High School and went on to complete his electrical engineering and law degrees at the University of Washington. A member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Wayne remained a devoted Husky all his life.

Three themes punctuated Wayne’s life – family, service, and fairness.

Wayne’s own family began when he met Anne as an undergraduate, and he remained devoted to her for the rest of his life. But
Wayne was part of a close-knit extended family of Swedes – aunts, uncles, and cousins, that grew over the decades to include dozens of nieces and nephews, along with 10 grandkids whom he adored. Wayne’s favorite week each year was “The Lake” when he returned to his Eastern Washington roots along the shores of Loon Lake with upwards of 70 relatives to share evening meals and enjoy each other’s company.

Wayne’s passion for service began in the Air Force, where he served in the JAG Corps, serving in Panama and Little Rock, Arkansas. When he and Anne moved back to Seattle to raise their young family, Wayne joined the law firm of Montgomery, Purdue, Blankenship, and Austin, where he practiced law for the next 40+ years, focusing on real estate and construction law. Toward the later years of his practice and into his retirement, he also served as a mediator and arbitrator, first with American Arbitration Association (AAA) and then for 10 years with Judges Arbitration and Mediation Service (JAMS). In 1977, Wayne and Anne bought a cedar-roofed fixer-upper built in 1910 on the northeast shore of Bainbridge Island. At that point, his hobbies shifted from skiing and tennis to chopping huge quantities of firewood and repairing and renewing the old “Cedar Hall” for the next 43 years.

Wayne loved the law and dedicated a huge chunk of his professional life to ensure the law worked for everyone. He believed justice delayed is justice denied and worked tirelessly to secure improved funding for Washington’s courts and public defenders. He also worked hard to develop alternatives to court, helping craft many of Washington’s arbitration and mediation statutes. This led him to become active in the King County and Washington State Bar Associations, where he ultimately served as President of both. His professional awards and recognitions are too numerous to include.

Fairness was fundamental to Wayne. Beyond living life with the highest integrity, Wayne approached every problem looking to assure everyone involved felt heard and was treated fairly. He was a trusted advisor to all. People simply relied upon Wayne to treat them fairly...and he did.

Wayne’s gentle leadership, keen mind, and generous heart will be deeply missed. He is survived by his wife Anne Shermack Blair, sister Barbara Blair Fox, brother Bob Blair and his wife Connie Bettenhausen Blair, his three children, Jessica Blair Magnusen and her husband Doug Magnusen, Chris Blair and his wife Heidi Maron Blair, Jeff Blair and his wife Carrie Garinger Blair, and 10 grandchildren. Wayne’s ferry boat ride through life may be over, but his love of family, service to others, and work to make the world a little more fair leaves a tremendous legacy that will live on through so many he impacted.

A memorial service will be held at 2pm on July16th at the Hyla Middle School Community Hall on Bainbridge Island. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Endowment for Legal Justice and Bloedel Reserve.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of M. Wayne Blair, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, July 16, 2022

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