January 26, 1998
Stanley O. McNaughton - an inspiration to all people
On Monday, December 19, Stanley O. McNaughton passed away leaving a valuable legacy to us all. Stan was our man. A community leader with strong morals, ethics, patriotism and vision, Stan worked tirelessly for the benefit of all people. He was in Olympia, in Washington DC, and everywhere else representing our interests by influencing policy and programs that now better our lives. In some way, Stan's professional work and community service touches each one of us.
Stan was born in Montana on September 27, 1921. He grew up in British Columbia, the oldest of 11 children. In 1946 he and his wife, Clare, moved to Seattle and raised six children. He taught economics and finance and then served as the administrative assistant to the president of Seattle University before being recruited by SAFECO in 1957. In 1961, he became the general manager of PEMCO and quickly moved to the top through his strong attributes of vision, responsibility, humility, leadership, love and respect for others, a get-it-done approach and immense heart for the common folk.
He convinced the PEMCO board to invest 5% of their pre-tax profits back into the community and to be a community partner. One of his favorite sayings was "Success is something you make happen; failure is something you let happen," and Stan made sure that programs in Seattle were successful with proper funding and any other support they needed - corporate employee hours, networking, you name it.
I first met Stan when I joined the Foundation Board of Shoreline Community College. Stan served on the board and later became board president. As President and CEO of PEMCO Insurance, Stan also served on many other community boards. One of his important projects was the Shoreline Community College Automotive Training Center that went from a dream to a building. It was during the struggle to find financing that I watched Stan in action. Although he never took direct credit, it was Stan who was responsible for the state-of-the-art building that trains young people in all aspects of the automotive industry. The program has been recognized as the best in the nation, and even had a campus visit by President Clinton and Bill Gates in February of 1996.
When he was honored as the First Citizen in Seattle in 1996, one of his teachers from Canada who had encouraged him in high school was among the hundreds of people attending. Stan lived through the Depression working and sending money home to his mother to help with the costs of raising his brothers and sisters. He was moved by the plight of others and always listened and helped. More than 2,000 people attended his funeral service last Saturday. In these times when we search for inspirational leadership, we only need to find people like Stan, right in our own community.
Carol Edwards, Publisher