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Obituaries » Richard Joseph Jablonski

Richard Joseph Jablonski

May 1, 1946 - February 5, 2018

U.S. Veteran

A celebration of life will be held on May 6, 2018, 2-5pm, at the Corinthian Yacht Club.

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Richard Joseph Jablonski was born May 1, 1946 in Philadelphia, PA, and adopted by Richard and Mary Jablonski. He grew up in Glendora, NJ, with his younger brother, Jim. Rich showed his interest in engineering early, building an autopilot for a model airplane in his family’s garage. It continued even when he accidentally flew a rocket through the neighbor’s front window. Rich explored the country beyond New Jersey and went to college in Southern California. Ready for something else, he traveled north to Seattle and worked a short time at Boeing before returning to New Jersey in 1968 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served until 1971 in various locations including Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Upon returning from military service, he attended Widener University and worked nights at Boeing Vertol while earning his degree in Systems Engineering. After graduation, he worked at Scott Paper and Teneco. He moved to Seattle and resumed employment at Boeing where he met E. Elaine Cashar, his future wife. Rich worked in various programs, including the 767 Noise Certification, Preliminary Design in Space Systems, plus Design and Test Manager for the Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP), which included his 3 minutes of fame on CNN for the program’s successful hover test.

Besides engineering, Rich enjoyed sailing; starting with a Hobie Cat 16 he bought with Elaine. After their two children, Jesse and Sarah, were born, they became partners in a C&C 40 sailboat, named Fairwind. Together they enjoyed racing part of the year and cruising in British Columbia for family vacations. They loved it so much that they bought their own ocean sailer, a Stevens 47, named it Windarra (aborigine for “Which way?” or “Where to next?”), and started long-distance cruising.

Rich enjoyed cruising and doing boat projects. As a family they sailed across the South Pacific for three years, returning to Seattle to get Jesse and Sarah through college, take care of aging parents, and maintain the boat while Elaine contracted at Boeing. In 2010, Rich and Elaine started cruising again, heading north to Alaska before turning around and heading south to Cape Horn. Going around Cape Horn meant a lot to Rich; it is an achievement that few sailors attain.

Rich’s joy was being with his family, from skiing to sailing to watching movies. Because he was adopted, having his children meant so much more to him. Having a grandson, Leo, who called him ‘Pop-pop’, was simply ‘off the charts’. They were with him as his yearlong battle with heart and lung issues ended on Monday, Feb 5, 2018.

Richard is survived by his wife of 34 years, Elaine, his daughter Sarah, his son Jesse, daughter-in-law Rae Wannier, grandson Leo, his brother Jim, and sister-in-law Jeanne.

A celebration of his life will be held on May 6, 2018, 2-5pm, at the Corinthian Yacht Club.