Former Sen. Charles Moriarty Jr. Was In Group That Changed GOP

Former state Sen. Charles Moriarty Jr., who at 29 was a state representative and at 37 minority floor leader for the 1965 Legislature, was among a fast-rising cadre of young Republicans whose ideas shook up what the press called "the old order" of state Republican politics.

His colleagues included future Congressman Joel Pritchard, future U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton and future Gov. Dan Evans, all of whom he shared a house with in Olympia in 1959.

A moderate conservative, he sought new ways to improve services without raising taxes, to make schools community-based and to look into the practices of the State Highway and Liquor departments.

Unlike his colleagues, he took a different track after 10 years in elected politics, including writing GOP campaign platforms.

He retired in 1966 and returned to the law firm started by his father. He was losing money in politics, and wanted to focus on family.

A friend says Mr. Moriarty's wife, Marion Pelly Moriarty of Bainbridge Island, had seen enough politics as the daughter of U.S. Sen. Tom Pelly.

Mr. Moriarty's daughter, Ginger Moriarty of Seattle, said: "The qualities people mentioned (at his funeral) were dedication to his family . . . and his integrity. He had incredible integrity."

Mr. Moriarty died Friday (May 21) of heart failure. He was 71.

Born in Seattle to U.S. Attorney and King County Superior Court Judge Charles Moriarty Sr. and his wife, Thelma Thurman Moriarty, Mr. Moriarty graduated from Seattle Preparatory School in 1945.

He earned a law degree in 1951 at the University of Washington, where he rowed on the varsity crew.

Serving in the Army Judge Adjutant General Corps in Washington, D.C., in 1953, he attended President Eisenhower's inaugural ball and stepped back on the foot of a young woman, who reportedly limped off the floor. She was Jacqueline Bouvier, dancing with then-Sen. John F. Kennedy.

Mr. Moriarty became an administrative assistant to Tom Pelly. Then he returned to Seattle to practice law.

In 1956, he was elected state representative from the 36th District. In 1958, he was re-elected.

A year later, he was appointed to fill the seat vacated by the death of Sen. Victor Zednick. Mr. Moriarty was elected senator in 1960.

He chaired the King County Dan Evans for Governor Committee in 1963. Supported by Evans, he was named Senate minority floor leader in 1965 - the same year Mr. Moriarty chaired the Senate Budget Committee.

After returning to "civilian" life and moving to his wife's family's historic home on Bainbridge Island, he practiced law, lobbied for banks and formed the Savings Bank Trust.

In 1994, at age 66, he earned a master's degree in history at UW.

Also surviving are his wife; children, Taylor Moriarty, Seattle, and Mark and Minor Moriarty, Bainbridge Island; siblings Jeanne Jacobsen, Seattle, and Tim Moriarty, Olympia; and three grandchildren.

Services were held yesterday at St. Cecilia Catholic Church on Bainbridge Island, the same church where he and his wife were married 35 years ago today.

Donations may go to any charity.