Recent Obituaries
In Memoriam Archive

Grant Gawaine Stipek ’86

June 16, 2019, in Bremerton, Washington.

Grant grew up in Seattle and, after graduating from Roosevelt High School, worked aboard a cruiser and an Alaskan crab-fishing boat. After traveling on his own through Europe for four months, he started at Reed.

Grant decided he wanted to write his thesis on Frank Lloyd Wright and spent his senior year at Taliesin West, the architect’s laboratory outside of Phoenix, Arizona. He wrote his thesis, “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Concept of Organic and His Ideal in Man,” with Prof. Charles Rhyne [art 1960–97]. While at Taliesin, Grant met the CEO of Cassina—an Italian company that manufactures furniture designed by the world’s great architects—who offered Grant a job following graduation. When he graduated from Reed, Grant turned down an opportunity to attend University of Oregon’s Graduate School of Architecture and went to work in Cassina’s research and development department.

Grant envisioned building furniture with plastic-framed bases. After two years in Italy, he returned to Seattle and began six or seven years of research while developing his concept and obtaining patents in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and a half dozen European countries. He financed his enterprise by working in the summers for his uncle aboard a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska, and in 1995, he moved to Portland to begin building the business.

Within a year, Grant contracted an illness that would remove him from his dream. During this time, he lived for four years with his parents in Hansville, Washington, and another 18 years in a Bremerton apartment.

Grant is survived by his father, Robert Stipek; his stepmother, Emily; and his siblings, Brian Stipek and Gwendolyn Styke.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2019

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