When my wife and I first got the news last week of Blake’s passing, we were both shocked and devastated like so many others. Now what remains is an emptiness and heavy heart.
To me Blake was the heart and soul of the company. When I think of Nordstrom it’s Blake’s smiling face I see. I can honestly say there is no one I respect and admire more than Blake. He always made you feel better for having been with him. His captivating smile would warm hearts with anyone he’d interact with. He was an exemplary leader with an infectious passion and natural ability to relate and make a personal connection to everyone he met. He led through influence rather than authority and he was the embodiment of “customer service”. He gained trust through his integrity and always took the time to listen to his employees and his customers.
In 2004, after 25 wonderful years with the company I made an exciting although difficult decision to leave Nordstrom to start a new chapter in my life starting-up a home remodeling business. In this I took with me all that I had learned with Nordstrom, the most important being “customer service”. Even though I was no longer with the company Blake made a point to stay in touch, often calling me out of the blue to ask how my wife and I were doing, wish me a happy birthday, or offer up some work for my new business. In 2008 the Rack New Store Team was created which opened the door for me to come back to the company. The timing was perfect with a recession approaching and my body parts beginning to wear-out. Blake was instrumental in making that happen by making me aware and putting me in contact with Scott Medin and KC Shaffer.
Over the years Blake and I had numerous conversations about the company, as well as our shared love for boating and classic cars. On a few occasions Blake took me to see his “new” boat, each one “larger” than the last. Lets just say I really never felt the need to show him mine, as it would have made a good dingy for his. Although I will always have the memories, I will deeply miss our chats.
We were all so lucky to have had Blake as our leader, our friend, and our mentor. For just knowing Blake, his integrity, kindness and genuine spirit left us all “better” than he found us. Thank you to all the Nordstrom family who make Nordstrom a very special place to work.
To Molly, his children and the entire Nordstrom family, my wife and I share in your grief and our thoughts and deepest sympathy goes out to you at this most difficult time.
Darren and Debbie Jacobsen