Richard (Dick) Warren

Richard (Dick) Warren


Richard (Dick) Eddy Warren passed away surrounded by family on Alki Beach, WA the evening of October 29, 2022.


Dick born in Seattle, WA on 1/2/1932 to parents (Hetty) Margaret Warren (Richards) from Vashon and Eddy Arnold Warren originally from Manitoba, Canada. He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Vanetta Rae Warren (House), just 5 days before. He is survived by children: Michael, Mark, John, Helen, and Bob; grandchildren: Brian, Michael, Bart, Sarah, Barbara, Erika, Patrick, and Paula; great-grandchildren: Coralie, Oakley, Freya, Tucker, Alessa; and first cousins who were very much like siblings: Fran, Charles (Buzz), Billy Anne, Charlotte, and Emma.


Dick grew up on Vashon Island, frequently visiting his maternal grandparents in Dockton, on Maury Island. Dick bought his first car at age 13 and with it delivered groceries from the Dockton General Store. He also piloted the passenger ferry, Yankee Boy, from Vashon to Tacoma. He became both the Lifeguard and swimming instructor at the Dockton State Park plus starting quarterback for Vashon High School's football team and graduated in the class of 1949. He was accepted into medical school at the University of Oregon in Eugene but lacked the funds to attend. However, the University of Idaho in Moscow awarded him a 4-year swim team scholarship and together with his ROTC support he completed University there majoring in Civil Engineering. Dick served in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, stationed first at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri then later in France dismantling World War II bombs during the Korean War. He met and married his first wife, Maureen, and settled in Idaho. In 1955 his eldest son, Mark was born, soon followed by John, Helen, and Bob. Sadly, his marriage did not last, and Dick moved back to Seattle in 1963.


Dick later met a former Vashon High School girlfriend, Vanetta House. They married in 1965, first living with Vanetta's son Michael, on the beach south of the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock. They then moved to Alaska where they both worked for a company named RCA at the BMEWS – Ballistic Missile Early Warning System - Base in Clear, Alaska, as part of the U.S. missile defense system. They lived in the small town of Anderson, population 300, just 3 1/2 miles from the Base. Besides working as an Engineer, Dick also served as the town's mayor and later scoutmaster for the local Boy Scout Troop, one of the oldest in the U.S. The Troop took on the challenge of sleeping rough, in handmade shelters from the forest, enough nights to reach -100 Degrees F. Dick and the boys accomplished this in just 2 nights with -48 Degrees F. and -67 Degrees F.  Vanetta was tasked with meeting and picking them all up at the trailhead, which was a task in itself with the 4-wheel-drive pickup being kept outside.  He also enjoyed flying throughout the state, fly fishing, hunting, snow shoeing, riding snow machines, borrowing Michael's motorcycle, taking a 33-mile canoe trip, etc. After 3 years of careful saving, they returned to Seattle and purchased a small waterfront cabin on Alki Beach in West Seattle. They remodeled the cabin, and it became a center of beachfront entertainment, including clam bakes and grilling salmon over the beach fire.


After several years, Dick designed a new home which they then built and it became a showpiece for their extensive Alaska Native and Pacific Northwest Indian art, maritime art collection and a center for family and friends. Generations of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, many friends, neighbors, neighbor dogs, and pet seagulls remember Dick and Vanetta's hospitality and fun on the beach, especially their annual 'Camp Alki' get together with family from multiple states coming each year to visit and have fun.


Dick and Vanetta both loved to travel and visit friends. Besides spending most Thanksgivings with friends in Hawaii, they traveled to French Polynesia, sailed to Fiji, made multiple trips to the East Coast and Europe (Dick especially enjoyed Denmark, France, Italy, and Greece).


Some of the firms Dick worked for as a Civil Engineer included Wolfe & Associates, then RCA Corporation in Alaska, and later back in Seattle, Kramer, Chin & Mayo, and Kato & Warren.

A few of Dick's Civil Engineering projects would include: 

  • Lead design team West Seattle Bridge
  • Bangor Trident Naval Base (Nuclear submarine base)
  • Fish Hatcheries in France and the Pacific Northwest
  • Seattle Aquarium – (including the overhead salmon fingerling viewing below the aquarium area)
  • Hawaiian Island Aquarium
  • Several key I-5 and I-90 highway projects
  • Seattle Waterfront project
  • Master Plan for Seattle Water Systems
  • Wrote water conservation plans and salmon studies
  • Expert in Urban Drainage
  • Post retirement, he worked as the City Engineer for Bothell and many smaller Washington cities
  • Dick won several national awards in recognition of his many accomplishments and contributions to civil engineering.


Dick loved to ski and looked forward to having a senior pass when he could ski for free. No doubt he was encouraged by his long-time skiing friend Otto Lang who was a few years older and took advantage of that opportunity until he passed away at age 99. They frequently skied at Sun Valley together and Brundage Mountain near McCall, Idaho.


In addition to maintaining his private pilot's license for multiple aircraft, which he flew in both Idaho and Alaska, Dick also obtained his pilot's license for large craft (including ferries) before buying a 30-foot Catalina because he and Vanetta took people out for an evening dinner cruise so they could write the boat off as a business expense. They would take cousins (from Alaska, Arizona, and locally) and their grandchildren to Dockton, Burton and the Quartermaster Yacht Club.


Dick loved to cook and as a young U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant, attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris in 1955 (at the very same time as Julia Childs). Although he preferred French and Greek recipes, one of his favorites was making green oatmeal for the grandchildren.


Dick loved to sail and sailed throughout the Pacific Northwest including the San Juan Islands 

Dick owned and co-owned multiple sailboats over the years including the Rubaiyat (a Norwegian designed 29-foot Dragon sailboat similar to the one owned by the King of Sweden) that was moored at Leschi, Lake Union; a 30-foot Catalina that was moored in Burton at the Quartermaster Yacht Club and in front of his home on Alki; he also sailed Drifter (a 70-foot ULDB sloop) in the TRANSPAC Race from San Pedro, CA to Honolulu, HI.


Dick's additional interests included:

  • Seagull pets on Alki came to visit him daily, with one in particular routinely eating out of his hand
  • Likewise, neighbor beach dogs came to the house daily with wide grins in expectation of a treat and a friendly pet
  • Dick invented and marketed the Aqua Scope in 1969
  • Alki Elementary School: Lead the charge to save the building from being torn down in the 1960’s following the 1964 earthquake. Both Dick and Vanetta blazed the path for the building to be salvaged and partially rebuilt. This is the final year that building will be in existence. The building will be torn down after the end of school in July 2023 and a new seismically safe building designed and built in the same location. 
  • MOHI: Museum of History and Industry, where Dick volunteered in his retirement and knew all of the people


Just a few of the additional  organizations Dick devoted his time and energies to would include: 

  • Save Our Ships (SOS, the effort to save the lumber schooner Wawona)
  • Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society (PSMHS)
  • Center For Wooden Boats
  • Arcadians’ Dance Club (Dick was President about five years ago 2017 but it has since disbanded)
  • West Seattle Book Club
  • West Seattle Health Club Swimming Group and Aqua Fitness Group
  • APWA (John Ostrowski – Editor for the APWA Newsletter: 0-573-7594)
  • Quartermaster Yacht Club (as with many things, Dick helped found the Club and build the main dock)
  • Center For Wooden Boats
  • Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)
  • Vashon Island Heritage Museum 
  • Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association
  • Alki Log Museum
  • Ancient Skiers
  • Bullitt Foundation


Dick was an excellent author and even a better speaker. He frequently gave talks with meticulously researched and historically accurate slides, etc., of Dockton, Maury Island and Vashon, WA. He additionally wrote several fine articles about his boyhood home for the PSMHS Sea Chest Magazine. These can still be found online at:

JUN 2, 1969   'Dockton, The Drydock Years'

SEP 3, 1969   'Dockton, The Shipyard Years'

MAR 4, 2007 'The Summer of '44: 12-year-old on the Yankee Boy and Quartermaster Harbor


Dick will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him and especially by his entire family. A Celebration of Life for both Dick and his wife of 57-years, Vanetta, who sadly passed away just 5 days earlier, will be held at Salty’s on Alki on May 12, 2023. Please click on this link to RSVP to the Celebration of Life: