Emil Sick - Brewer


Porteait of Emil Sick


An obituary is hardly the place to chronicle the achievements of a person's life, and that is especially true for this man.

To Washingtonians of the '50s and '60s the name Emil Sick conjures up the good life - balmy summer days with cold beer and the glory afternoons of Pacific Coast League baseball.  He owned the brewery that brewed Rainier Beer, and he owned the baseball club that played its way into the hearts of fans - the Seattle Rainiers.

Those were but two facets of the many-faceted life of this Tacoma-born, Canadian-reared brewer. Sick learned the brewery business at his father's breweries in Alberta and Saskatchewan. At the height of his business career, Emil controlled the largest number of breweries under single management in the world.

As a businessman he was successful beyond ordinary hopes and dreams. As a baseball club owner he gave Seattle five pennant wining seasons with many memorable teams, and heroes who have lasted through the ages.
Beyond that, Sick was a dynamic civic booster, a man who could get things done and who contributed so much to his adopted city.

The following is his obituary from the November 11, 1964 edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

"Emil Sick, Civic Leader, Baseball Patron, 70, Dies

Emil G. Sick, 70, long-time Seattle civic and business leader, died early yesterday morning in Swedish Hospital of a stroke following an operation.
Mr. Sick had been in failing health recently but had continued to take an active part in his numerous and varied business interests in, the United States and Canada.

He was chairman of the board of Sick's Rainier Brewing Co. and president of Sicks' Brewery Enterprises, Inc., both of Seattle, and a director of three other firms, Molson's Brewery, Ltd., and Sicks' Breweries, Ltd., both of Canada, and the Peoples National Bank of Washington. He also was a director of the Seattle World's Fair.

Mr. Sick was equally well known for his leadership in civic activities. He led two successful $100,000 fund raising drives. One played a leading role in saving St. Mark's Cathedral. As chairman of the non - denominational committee, he saw $100,000 collected to wipe out the church's debts and beautify the picturesque building.

As president of the Seattle Historical Society, Mr. Sick led the drive which collected $100,000 for construction of the Museum of History and Industry.

Mr. Sick was a long-time leader of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, serving as its president in 1941. Thirteen, years later he was elected an honorary life-time member.

Mr. Sick entered the brewery business as a shipping clerk with Lethbridge Breweries, Ltd., in Alberta, Canada, which was founded and owned by his father.

In the following years he headed numerous corporations which operated breweries in Spokane; Salem, Ore.; Missoula and Great Falls, Mont.; Vancouver, B.C.; Edmonton and Lethbridge, Alta., and Prince Albert and Regina, Sask. Some of these later were closed or sold.

In 1937, Mr. Sick purchased the Seattle Rainier baseball club and a year later built the stadium which bears his name. The club was sold in 1960. He also was past state chairman of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and was a founder of the King County Central Blood Bank.

In 1949, Mr. Sick became the first Washingtonian to be named for the Disabled American's Veteran's award for outstanding civic leadership. And he was named Greater Seattle's First Citizen in Sports for 1963.

Mr. Sick was born June 3, 1894, in Tacoma. He attended Western Canada College, Calgary, and Stanford University. He resided at 260-39th Ave. E.

He married Kathleen Thelma MacPhee in 1918. She died in 1962, and last December he married Mrs. Martha Gardner, widow of a Seattle business leader.

Survivors include his wife, Martha; sister, Mrs. J. A. Blair, Vancouver, B.C.; three daughters, Mrs. Chandler Thomas, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Mrs. Robert Minton, Concord, Mass.; and Mrs. Winston Ingman, Mercer Island; a son, Timothy Sick, London, England; an adopted son, Alan Ferguson, Seattle, and 16 grandchildren."

From the foregoing it's obvious that more is to be said about this remarkable man and his achievements. Planned topics include: The House of Lethbridge, Sicks' Breweries, Inc., and the Seattle Rainiers.

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