George Kinnear, 82, Fair-Minded `Politician The People Could Trust'

Dedicated to serving the public, longtime Seattle resident George Kinnear is remembered by friends as a "splendid citizen," a "politician the people could respect."

Mr. Kinnear, died Friday. He was 82.

"He epitomized the very best of public servants," says Lt. Gov. Joel Pritchard, a friend and political colleague.

"George was fair-minded and he had a keen intellect that he put to work for the greater good."

Mr. Kinnear served for 10 years under then-Gov. Dan Evans as director of the state Department of Revenue.

But Mr. Kinnear's public career began long before that, following in the path of his father and grandfathers: His father, Roy Kinnear, was a state representative.

His paternal grandfather, George Kinnear, who came to Seattle in 1878, was active in local politics and donated property to the city for Kinnear Park at the base of Queen Anne Hill.

And his maternal grandfather, Samuel Cosgrove, was elected governor. Cosgrove served only one day in office, however, before dying in 1909.

Taking up politics early in life, young George Kinnear was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1938. He was elected to the House again in 1947.

Between his first and second House terms, Mr. Kinnear served in World War II as a lieutenant commander in naval intelligence attached to the Canadian and the British navies.

In 1950, Mr. Kinnear ran for U.S. Senate but lost in the Republican primary. He remained active in Republican politics and, in 1953, was elected chairman of the Washington State Republican Party and committeeman to the National Republican Party. He retained those titles until 1958.

"His aim was never to improve his own position or even that of friends, but to do what was good for the public," says his son, Cal Kinnear.

"Beyond that, he was a serious and reflective man. A man who liked to think and talk about public affairs, often keeping the family sitting around the dinner table talking about the events of the day."

Born in Seattle, Mr. Kinnear graduated from Queen Anne Hill School and received bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Washington. After completing his education, he went on to become a partner in the law firm Williams and Kinnear.

Survivors include his wife, Caroline; sons, Cal and Grant Kinnear, of Seattle; granddaughter, Kristin, of Olympia; and sister, Myrn Philbrick, of Seattle.

Mr. Kinnear donated his body to the University of Washington Medical School.

At his request, services will not be held. The family suggests any remembrances may be made to Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Mercer Island, or the Northwest Kidney Center, in Seattle.