Pomeroy, Gerald C.

(1927 - 2012)

Born in Jamestown, North Dakota on April 9, 1927 Gerald Charles Pomeroy grew up in Spokane graduating from North Central High School in 1945. He then joined the Army Air Crops (1945-47) and was stationed in Guam as a weather observer for part of his tour duty. After rising to the rank of sergeant, Pomeroy was discharged. Pursuing higher education, he first attended Whitworth College in Spokane. While there he met his future wife Peggy. An interest in architecture led him to the University of Washington where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture in 1954. As a top student in his class, he was given a faculty award for design and scholarship.

As a student Pomeroy worked for Albert Poe, the firm of Parr & Soldano, and Arnold Gangnes. Then upon graduation he took a job with the Seattle architectural firm of Young & Richardson (1954-56).

In 1956 Pomeroy went to work for the architectural firm of Waldron & Dietz (formed in 1952), a firm he would remain with for the rest of his career. He quickly rose to the level of associate (1959) and became a junior partner in 1963, and then full partner in 1967. After Robert Dietz's retirement, the firm was renamed Waldron & Pomeroy. Over the next several years the firm went through several iterations as partners came and went, but Pomeroy remained the constant.

The firm added two new partners, William Polk and Ragnar Smith in 1969, but the name remained the same. Polk had an architectural degree from Cornell, and while working at the firm, became a State Legislator and Speaker of the House. Smith was a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. Both had been with the firm for five years prior.

In 1971 Donald Foote and Donald Akira were appointed as associates. When Polk left the firm in 1982, Foote and Akira were elevated to full partners and the firm was renamed Waldron, Pomeroy, Smith, Foote & Akira.

The firm produced a wide variety of work over the course of 30+ years. Notable projects included Emmanuel Episcopal Church (1960, Seattle AIA honor Award) on Mercer Island; College Place Chiropractic Clinic (1972) in Lynwood; Fire Station No. 25 (1969) in Seattle; the First Federal Savings & Loan – Richland Branch (1972) which received a National Award from the Precast Concrete Institute; the King County Animal Shelter (1973); Waldron & Pomeroy’s own Architectural Office in Seattle (1976); Wisteria Plaza Park (1976) for the Seattle Buddhist Temple; Bell Telephone Building in Seattle; Mercer Island Covenant Church addition (1980); Northwest Hospital Addition (1981); and the Sammamish Presbyterian Church (1987).

The firm specialized in educational projects and received a number of commissions across western Washington, many of which received accolades from the education and architectural communities. Projects included primary and secondary schools, as well as several projects for college campuses. They include designs for Olympic View Jr. High School (1957 - Seattle AIA Honor Award) in Mukilteo; Edmonds High School (1959 - Seattle AIA Merit Award) in Edmonds; Schmitz Hall (1969-70) on the University of Washington campus; West Mercer Island Elementary School (1964) which was displayed at American Association of School Administrators conference in Atlantic City; Alderwood Jr. High (1966) in Edmonds; Olympic Elementary School (1967) in Edmonds; Maple Hills Elementary School (1969) in Issaquah; Kentridge High School (1969); Frost Elementary School (1967) in Kirkland; Auburn High School Auditorium; a continuing education center for the University of Washington (1977); an addition to Bagley Hall (1980); and a massive expansion of the UW Medical Center (1984).

Their design and main buildings for the Edmonds Community College campus (1966) won an Honor Award for master planning by the American Association of Jr. Colleges (one of three nation-wide). The competition was sponsored by the AIA, the American Association of Jr. Colleges, the Educational Facilities Laboratories Inc., and the US Dept of Health, Education and Welfare.

On the civic and social side, Pomeroy was active in a variety of organizations including serving as Seattle AIA chapter treasurer (1965-66) and then President (1973-74). He also served on the Executive Board of the WA State Council of Architects, was the Mercer Island Visual Art League President (1967-68), was a member of the Puget Sound chapter of the Council of Educational Facility Planners, the Urban Resources Inventory Review Committee, the Design Commission of Mercer Island, the WA State Arts Commission, and the Mercer Island School District Facilities Committee. He was also a part-time lecturer at the University of Washington College of Architecture (1964-?).

Pomeroy designed his family's residence on Mercer Island in the late 1950s; it was built in 1961 and is still owned by the family. Pomeroy was an avid skier and glider pilot. He loved music and sang with the Issaquah Singers. He passed away on Mercer Island on May 9, 2012.

- Michael C. Houser

Gerald Pomeroy; photo courtesy Peggy Pomeroy
Pomeroy House, Mercer Island; photo courtesy Pomeroy Family
Edmonds Community College, Edmonds; photo courtesy DAHP
Fire Station No. 25, Seattle; photo courtesy DAHP
First FederalSavings & Loan, Richland; photo courtesy DAHP
Schmitz Hall - UW, Seattle; photo courtesy DAHP
Gerald Pomeroy; photo courtesy Peggy Pomeroy