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Seattle Times Publisher Dies; Believed Drowning Victim

March 16, 1985

LANGLEY, Wash. (AP) _ W.J. ″Jerry″ Pennington, publisher of The Seattle Times, died Friday, an apparent victim of drowning when his small boat capsized off Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. He was 66.

Island County Sheriff Dick Medina said efforts to revive him after he was pulled from the water were unsuccessful. He said Pennington, who had a second home on the island, was believed to have been catching crabs when his 10-foot aluminum boat capsized.

Pennington had relinquished his title as Times president in January, but remained as publisher and chief executive officer. He continued to have responsibility for the news and editorial departments of the paper.

Pennington began his career at the Times as chief financial officer in 1951. He was named president in 1967, and publisher and chief executive officer in 1982.

He was an officer, also, in several Seattle corporations, and served on scores of boards and commissions of charitable organizations.

G. Robert Truex, Jr., chairman of Rainier Bancorporation, of which Pennington was a director, said he was ″one of Seattle’s leading businessmen of this generation ... one of the most interested and keen-minded directors we had.″

For five years before coming to the Times, Pennington worked for the Seattle office of Touche, Ross & Co, a national accounting firm. He was an FBI agent from 1942 to 1946.

Pennington was born in Tacoma in 1919. He moved to Ellensburg, Wash., at the age of 11 after the death of his father, and worked in a grocery store to help with family expenses while he attended high school. He graduated from the University of Washington in 1941 with a degree in accounting.

Besides his wife, he is survived by four children and three grandchildren.

Funeral services are pending.

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