James R. Faulstich

James R. Faulstich

James R. Faulstich passed away peacefully on September 22, 2013.

Jim was born in St. Louis, Missouri on December 19, 1933.  He is preceded in death by his parents Robert and Eva D. Faulstich, and his sister Claire Sammer.  He grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois where he attended York High School.  After graduating, he served in the US Army from 1955-1958.  A year after joining, Jim flew home from Germany to marry his high school sweetheart Gretchen Felthouse.  They returned to Frankfurt and began a marriage of 57 years together. 

He received his BS from Indiana University and in 1961 earned his Law Degree from the University of Chicago.  Upon graduation, he moved his family to Salem, Oregon where he served as Legislative Counsel from 1961-1967, Insurance Commissioner from 1967-1969, and assistant to Governor Tom McCall from 1969-1971. 

He returned to Elmhurst and spent many memorable years working as VP of Industry Relations for NAII. 

In 1979, he was recruited to be the President and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle.  He was instrumental in establishing a national Affordable Housing Program that since 1990 has invested $4.6 billion to support over 776,000 units of low income housing across the nation.  He retired in 1999 after twenty years of strong leadership.

Even in retirement, he continued to bring his leadership and tenacity to the greater Seattle community.  He served tirelessly on many boards and committees including Social Compact, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Washington Housing Partnership, Seattle Center Foundation, Seattle Opera, Seattle Foundation, Higher Education Coordinating Board, Downtown Seattle Association, The Rainier Club and Rotary.  He established a scholarship fund for low income students seeking opportunities in higher education.  

Having a lifelong passion for the performing arts, Jim was a dedicated Seattle Opera Board Trustee.  He was an active fundraiser for the construction of Seattle’s McCaw Hall, an accessible and world class performing arts center, home to the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet. 

He was proud of his German heritage and traveled the world seeking continual enrichment, cultural immersion, and adventure.

Jim is survived by his wife Gretchen, his children Robert (Ann) Faulstich, Julie (Steve) Johnson, and Clairann (Aaron) Witz; his grandchildren: Jim, Tom, Dan, Greer, Addie, and Marcus; his sister-in-law, Anne (David) Holtz; and many nephews and nieces. 

The world has lost a philanthropist, a humanitarian, and a voice.  So many have been guided and inspired by his wisdom and actions.  He will be remembered and honored for generations to come. 

Memorial contributions may be made in Jim’s name to The Seattle Opera, The Seattle Foundation, The Seattle Center Foundation, or a charity of your choice. 

A memorial and celebration of his life will be held at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street, Seattle, WA 98109, on Thursday, October 3rd at 11:00am.