Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Council member and Jamestown Seafood CEO Kurt Grinnell has died in a one-vehicle car accident near his home in Sequim, Washington, U.S.A.
Grinnell, 57, had helped develop Jamestown Seafood, owned collectively by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, into a multimillion-dollar business with more than 50 employees. Grinnell led the tribe’s collaborative partnership with Cooke Aquaculture Inc., served as vice president of the Northwest Aquaculture Alliance, and also steered Jamestown Seafood into oyster farming and oyster-seed production.
Grinnell was returning home after an NWAA board meeting, according to the Sequim Gazette.
“He was just a solid tower of strength for the tribe,” Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Chairman Ron Allen said. “He carried himself with such integrity, as such a strong character. He was a guy who always cared. He wanted to know about you and your family, what the interests were. That was one of the reasons people loved him. He never got personal, passionate, or angry, if you will. That wasn’t his style.”
Additionally, Allen said Grinnell chaired the tribe’s natural resources committee and represented the Jamestown S’Klallam on the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.
“All the natural resources stuff, shellfish, all the natural resources issues, that was Kurt’s bailiwick, that was his niche. It’s a big deal for us. It’s so ingrained in the tribe’s cultural and traditional ways,” Allen said. “He took the name S’Klallam, strong people, very seriously when he talked to me about strong government and self-reliance and talked to me about that vision. He always talked to me about how fisheries should be part of that vision.”
Photo courtesy of Northwest Aquaculture Alliance