I’m truly at a loss for words. Blake was one of the very best people I’ve known in my life. It’s hard to express the many times he has been there for me. I’ve known Blake for almost my entire career of 30+ years with the company and have tons of great memories.
Blake was an exceptional man and leader who inspired you to always give the best you had. Blake set high standards and you always wanted to make him proud. For my time with Blake and for all the lessons he has generously taught me, I am filled with gratitude and wonderful memories.
He was my mentor, coach and most importantly my friend. He was a man whose strength was rooted in kindness, generosity, competitive spirit, his love of family and of every part of our company. He was very humble and yet had so much pride in all of us. He made you want to be better. Most of my career I’ve had a post-it note on my desk WWBD (What Would Blake Do). A constant reminder to think about the customer and make decisions accordingly.
I have several fond memories of Blake to share.
When Blake was the store manager of store 1, for Anniversary setup, we had our merch at the 145 warehouse, they backed up a semi truck and unloaded the rolling racks. The rolling racks were dept labelled and routed onto the escalator. As an Assistant Dept Manager in POV, I was at the top of the escalator on the 3rd floor, directing the people with the rolling racks where to go (stay on 3rd floor, continue to 4th etc..) All of a sudden, I saw Blake with a rolling rack in hand. He was wearing a polo shirt, bright plaid shorts, top siders and his pasty white legs (think The Preppy Handbook) . He had a huge smile on his face and a laugh at my surprised expression. After many trips with rolling racks, he was tired but his smile never faded.
Also while he was store 1 manager, the display area came through and removed fixtures from POV to make the floor more presentable and have better flow. We worked on it for several hours before the store opened, we ended up removing about 40 rolling racks of merchandise to make the floor presentable. Needless to say we didn’t make our day. Blake stopped by in the afternoon and asked how early I could be there the next morning. I showed up at 5AM, He was already there and had wrangled the buyers and some display folks, to help put most of the merch from those rolling racks back on the selling floor. (He also helped get the merch from the basement back up to the 3rd floor). And we made our day.
Later I was the Petites/Coats Department Manager at Crossroads Place 2 in Bellevue, Blake was inspecting one of our sale rounders that had a sign of 20-33% off. Naturally he went straight to some items and found some at less than 20% off (they were 18-19% off). Needless to say the sign was quickly changed to Up to 33% off. His attention to detail was amazing.
On a personal note Blake sent me condolence cards when I lost 2 Grandparents within 3 months. His kindness and compassion was amazing. In 2006 I took on a role at Seattle Yacht Club to be one of 3 folks that acted as PR for the Opening Day of boating season. This role included heading a committee of 200 people and making public appearances and getting my photo taken a lot (I’m not fond of public speaking nor of getting my picture taken, and Blake knew this). Each month when the yacht club magazine was published, Blake would send me an email with encouragement and noting the # of photos I was in. Example- WOW 17 photos this month, a new record. Keep up the good work. His notes always made me smile.
I remember the first hug Blake gave me when he was the new store manager at store 1 (I was an Assistant Department manager in POV). And I remember my last hug with him, in the lobby of store 865, a few days after he announced his illness. He had lost some weight, but his smile was still as bright as ever.
We have lost an incredible leader, who always put people first. I have been reflecting so much over the past few days of the many Blake interactions and the many things I have learned from him. He impacted me in many ways, and will be missed. My heart and prayers go out to Molly, Alex, Andy, Pete, Erik, Mr. Bruce and all of his extended family and friends. Love and prayers to the Nordstrom family! We appreciate you and we will continue to honor Blake’s memory through our service.