I have been processing Blake’s passing over the past week, reading peoples’ memories, stories and the sheer outpouring speaks volumes. As many others have stated, you can take a person out of Nordstrom but you can’t take Nordstrom out of the person.
Even though I’ve been away for longer than the 16-years I was a Nordy, I still remember my employee #18230 and I still say “we”. Between 1981 and 1997, I was fortunate start at Store #10, move to open Glendale, return to store #4 and open Corte Madera to return to store #4. I also had great opportunities in Corporate in Merchandising, Credit, Sales Audit, Risk Management and finally Logistics. Throughout that time Blake and I crossed paths a few times, each time he remembered my name, a hand extended in greeting and of course his smile.
My fondest memories include; Blake, Geevy, Carol Thompson and I dressing up as the Jetson’s characters during a WA Rec meeting where we introduced scanning for the first time. He was more than willing to look silly, wear a costume with a wig and attempt to mimic George Jetson, Blake showing up in my very tiny office in Southcenter to talk about my team (clerical support at the time), thoughts on efficiency and of course to give me a list of things he noticed while he was in the back buying offices that day, and the time he stopped me while I was shopping at store #4 a few years after I left the company, to chat, ask me about my family, how I was doing and if I missed Nordstrom (of course I did and still do)!
However, it’s a relatively recent interaction that truly confirms what we all know about Blake. A true Servant Leader before there were books on the subject, a good human being, the son of Bruce who leaves things better than how he found it. When I read the article in December about Blake being diagnosed with Lymphoma, I sent a brief card expressing my belief that he would win the battle, that he had the whole of his Nordstrom extended family behind him and how much my time with Nordstrom, and reporting to him, is the foundation of how I have lived and worked since. I come back from the holiday break on 1/2 to a letter from Blake thanking me for thinking of him. My heart shattered 10-minutes later when his sudden passing was announced. Godspeed Blake…positive energy, prayers and love. Leave it better than you found it.