Hugo Edmund Oswald, Jr. died peacefully in his sleep at his unit in the Aljoya retirement community on Mercer Island on September 17th, two months after his 94th birthday. Hugo’s early hardships included losing his father at age 11, nearly losing both of his sisters to TB and a brother Rich to Polio and growing up during the great depression. Surviving these challenges early in life gave him a special appreciation for each day and fueled his resolve to approach life with an unwavering positive attitude. In his career and personal life Hugo was self-reliant, hardworking, while also humble and gracious. He maintained a cheerful and charming disposition whether toiling away on a legal brief late at night at the office, making new friends during his travels to 97 countries with his wife Olive, or teasing nurses and caregivers who watched over him in his final months. He had a special gift for making anyone in his presence feel valued and important.
Hugo loved practicing law, most recently with Stoel Rives Boley Jones and Grey (now Stoel Rives LLP) where his primary focus was corporate and securities law. His notable work included serving as lead counsel for a number of public utility districts and a municipality in the litigation relating to the termination of WPPSS 4 and 5 nuclear projects. Prior to that, he was Vice President and General Counsel of Rocket Research Corporation. He was a graduate of the UW Law School and admitted to the Washington State Bar in 1948, U.S. District Court, Western Washington, 1948, Circuit Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 1953, and U.S. Supreme Court, 1967.
His list of accomplishments, volunteer positions and interests included the following;
Commander, US Navy: served on L.S.T.s and survived several kamikaze air raids during World War 2 and served on Submarines in the reserves. Master Mariner’s License holder
UW Tennis Team, Seattle Tennis Club and Mercer Island Country Club Member
Past President Young Republicans of King County
Past President American Association for the United Nations (Seattle Chapter)
Past Elder Mercer Island Presbyterian Church
Rotary Club of Seattle Member
Eagle Scout and BSA Silver Beaver Award recipient
Rainier Club Member
Salvation Army Seattle/King County Advisory Board Chairman and lifetime board member
Emerald Heights Retirement Community Advisory Board
Law Teacher at the UW business school
Hugo’s wife Olive first caught his eye at a Junior Club dance several years after college. Two months later he convinced her to marry him and they spent 61 years together before her passing in 2011. Hugo is survived by his children Susan (and husband Chuck), Phyllis Oswald (who is a widow to son Scott who passed in 1999 and is married to Lodie Rogers), Steve, Stuart (and wife Jennie), nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
A celebration of his life will take place at the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church on October 21st at 2pm.