Harry Givan, one the best amateur golfers in Northwest history as well as an insurance executive and a co-founder of Seattle's Northwest Hospital, died yesterday (Dec. 16) of emphysema. He was 88.
His major national achievement was being selected for the U.S. team in the 1936 Walker Cup matches against amateurs from Great Britain.
A five-time winner of the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) Amateur and four-time winner of the Seattle Amateur, Mr. Givan also fared well against the professionals, winning the Washington State Open in 1936, the Northwest Open in 1942 and exhibition matches against golf legends Sam Snead, Bobby Jones and Byron Nelson.
In 1945, he helped organize the Seattle Open, then tied for second place in the tournament at Broadmoor Golf Club, where Nelson made history by shooting 259 (62-68-63-66) for four rounds, a PGA Tour record that stood for 10 years.
He was inducted into the PNGA Hall of Fame in 1978.
Born in Dungeness, Clallam County, Mr. Givan moved to Seattle with his family. He graduated from Lincoln High School and still is considered one of the city's best all-around athletes. He was all-city in baseball three years and in basketball twice. He also starred on the golf team, having earned money for clubs by boxing under an assumed name.
Mr. Givan had 19 scholarship offers out of high school and was offered a professional baseball contract but chose to go to the University of Washington, where he was captain of the golf team.
He left the UW during the Depression to earn a living at Seattle City Light. During World War II, he served in the Coast Guard Reserve.
After the war, he began selling insurance for Johnson Higgins. He moved up to manage the company, but he retired at age 62 "to make more time for golf," said his second wife, Peggy Givan, to whom he was married 15 years.
During the 1950s, he was among a group of businessmen who helped obtain funding and land for Northwest Hospital in North Seattle. He chaired its board for several years.
But he always made time for golf. Among his remarkable rounds was a record 61 at Broadmoor before the course was redesigned. A few days before his 80th birthday, he shot 71 at Seattle Golf Club, his home course.
Mr. Givan once said of golf, "Don't take it too seriously. Play it squarely and fairly with good manners and everything will be all right."
Also surviving are his son, Boyd Givan, Mercer Island; daughters Sharon Givan, Cincinnati; and Wendy Hess, Mount Vernon, Ohio; six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his stepchildren Susan Reichmann, Seattle; Archie Ratliff III, Everett; Kim Ratliff, Everett; and seven step-grandchildren.
His first wife, Velma Givan, to whom he was married 49 years, predeceased him.
Services are at 1 p.m. Dec. 28 at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 4805 N.E. 45th St., Seattle.
Donations may go to Northwest Hospital Foundation, 1550 N. 115th St., Seattle, WA 98133; or to the Evans Scholarship Fund, c/o Seattle Golf Club, 210 N.W. 145th St., Shoreline, WA 98177.