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Remembering a pioneer: Doug Clerget shaped Federal Way

Douglas Clerget was an influential leader in Federal Way’s development during the 1960s and beyond. - Courtesy photo
Douglas Clerget was an influential leader in Federal Way’s development during the 1960s and beyond.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Douglas Clerget was one of Federal Way’s most influential movers and shakers. As a civic and business leader, Clerget had a reputation as a no-nonsense guy whose word was his bond.

Clerget died Jan. 6 at age 81, following a years-long struggle with illnesses including leukemia. He was married to his wife, Faye, for 40 years. Among the couple’s most notable accomplishments was helping to bring St. Francis Hospital to Federal Way. He played a key role in securing the land for the hospital while they pushed for the certificate of need. He later served on the board of directors. The couple designated the hospital as their top charity, contributing to the construction of the emergency room, birth center and more.

Clerget’s wife talked about how much he enjoyed mentoring people and teaching them how to be successful in business. He also enjoyed the great outdoors, hunting, driving boats and piloting airplanes. Over the years, he served as water commissioner and fire commissioner, was a member of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, belonged to the Kiwanis, and served on the King County Transportation Board.

Faye Clerget loved her husband’s “glad to be alive, how can I help you” type of attitude.

“He really left a mark on the world,” she said, noting how Doug always kept a positive outlook and never boasted of his accomplishments. “They threw the mold away when he was born. He was the last of his kind.”

A chaplain who visited Clerget in his final hours handed Faye a note containing her husband’s last words: “I know why the good Lord has kept me around. I only took what I needed and spread the extra around. I am so blessed.”

Doug Clerget even has his own file at the Historical Society of Federal Way headquarters. The file contains news clippings that span decades, including ads for his business American Concrete Inc. In the late 1970s, Clerget helped organize and establish Sound Bank, a locally-owned state bank. The intention was to keep money and deposits in the community. Another clip describes his work regarding flooding issues on Pacific Highway South in 1981, while in a photo from 1973, Clerget is honored as citizen of the month.

In 2000, the Federal Way News named Doug and Faye Clerget as Citizens of the Century for their local contributions.

Clerget helmed one of the first major businesses in the Federal Way area. He owned and operated the Evergreen Truck Stop and industrial park, located at South 348th Street and Pacific Highway. He eventually sold the property, which now houses The Crossings shopping center, along with the site that became Costco.

The Evergreen Truck Stop was a top employer in the area, along with generating crucial tax revenue before Federal Way incorporated as a city.

“He obviously made a long-lived contribution to the area’s economy,” said Mayor Skip Priest, who said Clerget mentored him about Federal Way history and business in the mid-1980s. Priest said Clerget was not just a business owner, but a model business leader because of his community engagement.

“If the community is successful around you, you’ll have a more successful business, and Doug recognized it,” Priest said, likening Clerget to his generation’s version of Jeff Stock, who runs Wild Waves Theme Park and owns ample real estate in Federal Way. “Doug would make decisions that impacted all of us.”

Clerget is preceded in death by his parents and 2 children. He is survived by his wife, Faye; 5 children; 12 grandchildren; and 7 great-grandchildren. A funeral mass was held Jan. 12 at Saint Andrews Church in Sumner. Rosary services were held Jan. 11 at Bonney-Watson Federal Way Funeral Home. An online guestbook is available at legacy.com.

 

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