'Architect' of the Port of Port Townsend dies

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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SEQUIM — Conrad Pirner, a former Port of Port Townsend commissioner, died Monday after a long illness.

He was 78.

“Conrad was one of the architects of the current port,” said Deputy Port Director Jim Pivarnik.

“A lot of the things that the port is doing today was put in motion when he was a commissioner.”

Diane Pirner recalls her husband as “larger than life.”

“He had a huge personality that filled the room. Everyone wanted to come to our parties,” she said.

She said a celebration of life will be held at a future time in Port Townsend.

Pivarnik said Conrad Pirner was “an amazing guy . . . always super jovial.”

“He always had a story to tell,” Pivarnik added.

“He cruised everywhere and had a lot of great experiences.”

Born in Ohio

Pirner, who had been in Dungeness Courte Alzheimer's Care in Sequim since 2010, had suffered from Lewy body dementia and Parkinson's disease since 2005.

Pirner was born July 14, 1934, in Toledo, Ohio.

He worked in the grocery business and as a bread delivery man prior to moving in 1968 to Colorado, where he started his own food brokerage business.

After he sold his company in 1994, the family moved to Port Townsend, which they chose so he could attend the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, his widow said.

He was appointed to the port commission in 1996 and then was elected, serving until 2005.

At Pirner's final port meeting in 2005, Commissioner Bob Sokol commended him on his years of service and his commitment to the success of the port.

Sokol then said, according to the minutes, that Pirner's two standout traits were his dedication to long-range improvements and his great sense of humor.


Conrad and Diane Pirner were together for 30 years and were wed in 1999.

He is survived by his wife, Diane; a brother, Carl (Carol) Pirner of Lakewood, Colo.; four children, Suzy (Tim) Smith of Aurora, Colo., David (Cindy) Pirner of Wrightwood, Calif., Kathy Pirner of Texas and Larry Pirner of Anchorage, Alaska; five stepchildren, Dan (Vicki) Sharpe of North Glen, Colo., Fred (Sherry) Sharpe of Victorville, Calif., Vincent (Tami) Sharpe of Westminster, Colo., Scott (Tina) Sharpe of Apple Valley, Calif., and Nicole (Jason) Castenada of Aurora, Colo.; and several grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Pirner's remains were donated to the University of Washington Medical School, his widow said.


Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 19. 2012 5:55PM
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