Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
John A. “Jack” Petrich ’41, a Tacoma native and World War II veteran who served Washington as a state legislator and Court of Appeals judge, passed away January 7, 2010 at the age of 90. Petrich also served as a Pierce County deputy prosecutor and was Western Washington coordinator for John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign. Son Peter Petrich said his father loved politics but respected people with other political, social and religious beliefs. “As a result, he himself commanded respect,” Petrich said. Petrich said his father “passed away peacefully” at Tacoma General Hospital. Jack Petrich was born in 1919 in Tacoma, a member of the pioneering Petrich shipbuilding family. He graduated from Bellarmine High School and in 1941 from Santa Clara University. Upon graduating from college, he entered the U.S. Navy’s Officers School at Columbia University. He ended his naval career in 1946 as commander of a mine sweeper in the South Pacific. Peter Petrich said his father was stationed in Japan after the war and admired the country’s shipbuilding prowess. “He respected them for their ability, even though he just concluded four years fighting them,” he said. After the war he attended Georgetown Law School, graduating in 1949. He joined the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and was later named chief criminal deputy. In 1954 he launched a private practice with partner John Binns. A Democrat, Petrich served in the Legislature from 1956-66, first in the House and later the Senate, representing the 26th District in Pierce County. He served as Kennedy’s regional campaign coordinator in 1960 and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. In 1980 then-Gov. Dixy Lee Ray appointed him as a judge on the state Court of Appeals, Division II. He served in that position until his retirement at age 73 in 1993. In 1947 he married Margaret Horan, and the couple raised six children. She died in 1967. Petrich married Ann-Louise Griewe Soper in 1971. After his retirement, Petrich tended to business interests and focused on his family, his son said. He often held court at his Fox Island summer home. Petrich was a lifelong member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Tacoma and served on numerous boards, commissions and advisory groups over the years.