-Dan Guy

"Gino, we'll miss you, but your ripples endure and thrive!"

TRIBUTES

Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Washington
Gene’s peers in the construction industry often heard him share his philosophy on giving back: “A company should give back to its employees first. Secondly, it should give back to its industry. Thirdly, it should give back to the community that allowed us to prosper.” The members, board and staff of the Associated General Contractors of Washington are grateful and privileged that the AGC was one of Gene’s primary vehicles for giving back. From helping establish and enhance the iconic AGC Building in Seattle to staunchly defending the industry’s interests in Olympia, Gene was a ubiquitous presence at the AGC. Gene was passionate in his support of the construction industry. Some might even say he was intimidating. But those who knew him best know that was a persona that masked a generous, welcoming and amiable spirit. Not only did Gene enjoy the comradery of his construction colleagues, he actively worked to cultivate it. He was not above making a helicopter-aided grand entrance in Tacoma, wearing a tuxedo and shorts, to promote good cheer among AGC Seattle District and Southern District members. And while many of Gene’s contributions to the association he loved are legendary, others he tried to keep under the radar, like the time the AGC Fife office was mysteriously painted over a weekend. We could go on and on about how Gene was a Captain of Industry, but we’ll let his standing as a member of the UW Construction Hall of Fame speak to that. Plus, he’d balk at all the praise. But the one thing we can’t let go unsaid is that, above all, Gene Colin was a friend, indeed. -Jerry VanderWood


AGC of Washington Education Foundation
Imagine in your mind, Gene Colin walking from the Tacoma AGC office to the Seattle AGC office to highlight awareness of the AGC Education Foundation while raising significant funds. While this activity may sound outrageous to some, this was classic Gene. He was a determined, endlessly generous supporter of and advocate for this organization and many others. Gene was an early supporter of the 37-year-old AGC Education Foundation, an organization tied directly to his beloved AGC. Its mission was specifically designed to promote and develop construction careers through education and training, which aligned perfectly with Gene’s passion for both the construction industry and education. Gene believed in giving back to the industry by educating students about the vast career pathways available and provide financial and other needed support for their educational pursuits. He knew this was the answer to solidifying the future construction workforce. Gene believed that the industry had a responsibility to promote lifelong learning at all levels, and supported the AGC Education Foundation in achieving these goals. His opinion was always known — often colored with what we fondly remember as “Gene-isms”; his intentions were spot-on, and his legacy will live on within this organization. Gene was instrumental in the creation of three named endowments for the Foundation: the Hugh S. Ferguson Endowment, the Employees of Ferguson Construction Endowment, and the Gene Colin Two Year College Scholarship Fund at South Seattle College. Gene Colin is missed and will never be forgotten. Onward and upward to our dear friend. -Diane Kocer

View the Education Foundation's Board of Trustees "Gene Colin Impact Statement" here.


Costco Wholesale
The entire Costco Organization is grieving the loss of our very good friend, Gene Colin. The contractor of our very first Costco building in Seattle, Gene has continued doing projects for us for the past 35 years, including the home office in Issaquah, the warehouses in Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Tumwater, and of course the “current costco” building in Seattle, which replaced our “original” Costco. All told, Gene completed more than 100 projects for our company, but more importantly, he was an adopted member of the Costco family. Gene has been the recipient of our special “Salmon Award,” which we present rarely (only 13 times in 35 years, and just four times to special friends outside the company) to individuals that we believe embody the spirit of our Costco culture as it applies to integrity, quantity, value, and the sense of a “social contract” that businesses have with the communities that we serve. We will miss our friend “Gino,” the rough talking man with the tough exterior, who was, in reality, a marshmallow inside, who consistently exposed his true character through his gracious and charitable acts. We offer our profound condolences to his family and legions of friends. -Jim Sinegal and Craig Jelinek


Eastside Catholic School
Gene Colin was acknowledged in 2011 as a “Champion of Catholic Education” by the Fulcrum Foundation. We at Eastside Catholic knew that well. Gene was a member of our Permanence Committee in the 2000s that oversaw the construction of our new campus in Sammamish. Besides donating countless hours of free consultation to the project, Gene’s generous contribution to our capital campaign helped fund the science wings and chapel in our school. Later, Gene and his wife, Susan, funded the creation of the beautiful stained glass that now adorns the chapel narthex and interior. Gene was consistently a generous supporter of our annual auction and numerous other school programs. We are forever grateful for his love and support of our school. -Fr. William Heric


Esperanza
Gene Colin demonstrated his love and concern for others through his actions, and with his time, talents and treasures, shared so unselfishly. An upfront, larger-than-life man, Gene nevertheless had an eye for detail and the ability to engage in the small things when his help mattered most. He believed in our mission at Esperanza—restoring hope and dignity to families in the Dominican Republic through Christ-centered financial and other services—personally helping make possible the more than 232,000 microfinance loans our organization has disbursed in order to equip Dominican families to flourish. We will remember fondly the inspiration Gene provided all of us at Esperanza, from his “because I can” attitude to his quiet “you can do it” mentorship, to his unflagging style of personal friendship. He will be sorely missed. We extend our profound condolences to his family and friends. -Dave Valle


Fulcrum Foundation
Gene was a long-time supporter of Catholic education, and believed in Fulcrum’s mission to leverage support for all Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Seattle. He was honored as a “Champion of Catholic Education” at Fulcrum’s annual Celebration of Light gala in 2011 for his many contributions to Catholic schools and to the Fulcrum Foundation. Fulcrum is so very honored and grateful for Gene’s inspiring generosity and commitment, and for the indelible impact he made on Catholic schools, schoolchildren, and their families—especially those on the margins. -Conne Bruce

GM Nameplates

Gene asked me to serve on his Board of Directors during the years he had an outside Board.  I learned more from Gene than he did from me during that time.  He ran his board meetings  with the same perfection  he ran all aspects of his company.  I know some found him hard to work for or deal with  but those individuals didn’t take the time to learn from Gene and know him. The Gene from my observations was certainly  a guy with a Strong Personality and one that had the Biggest Heart  of anyone you could ever know; a guy that was generous beyond belief and could be counted on as a true friend. I count amongst the happiest days of my 55 years in business as those days  when Gene was constructing a building for me or when we would meet for Coffee or lunch  and talk about business issues, a little about family, Seattle Community Colleges, mostly South,  the  HEC board and fun stuff.  The last of those discussions was Lunch with you and Gene. Karin and I will never forget the Pebble Beach Golf Story.  Time flies. We had hoped for more lunches or dinners  and maybe even a golf lesson or two.  I left my card on Gene’s desk a few months ago but know at the time he didn’t come in often and was not feeling well.  I now kick myself for not following up. I needed to let him know what a Great friend he was.  I will hope he knew that.  I know he died at the office, my guess is that he was happy to be there for the Board meeting he was to attend. In 1977 Gene asked me to be a co-executor of his Estate. I told him I would be if needed but since I was a few years older it was his job to outlive me and say a few nice words at my celebration of life event.  I doubt if my services are needed in such a roll but Susan, If there is anything I can help you with, please let me know. I am very sorry we will miss the Funeral Mass on the 17th of June. Our family of 4 Sons, 4 Daughter in laws, and 11 Grandchildren will be in Hawaii. Karin and our Sons, Greg, Brad, Jack and Jeff all got to know Gene  thru contacts  and memories I have shared. We will have a prayer time and our own memorial for Gene in Hawaii on the 17th.  -Don Root


HEC Board
I met Gene Colin in 1999 on the Washington Higher Education Board (HECB). The HECB was a governor- appointed board that oversaw all of the post-secondary schools (universities and community colleges) in Washington state. His passion for education and demand for excellence instantly bonded us as friends, which later evolved our relationship into knowing each other as brothers. His years on the board exemplified his concern about the present and future generations of citizens — that they not only have access to quality, relevant education, but that it also be affordable. Gene advocated with complete passion, unrelenting commitment, and was a true leader. Those of us who worked with him knew he was never reluctant to ask the hard questions in whatever fashion fit the moment. His intellectual curiosity helped move issues forward as he drilled down to uncover deeper details and subsequent solutions. We shall never forget his wit. Yes, our friendship journeyed way beyond the board and I shall always think of my brother for his devoted friendship, his continuous giving to worthy causes, his off- the-wall comments, and that mischievous look that kept us wondering just what was going to happen next. I will truly miss him. -Herb Simon


Pacific Medical Center
We count it both a blessing and an honor to have had Gene Colin as a member of the Pacific Medical Centers Board of Directors from April 2006 – May 2017. Throughout his tenure, he participated on countless committees without hesitation. His commitment and dedication to the success of the organization was unwavering and inspiring. One of his most notable contributions to the PacMed team was during his role as Board Chairman when he guided the organization through the affiliation with Providence Health & Services. This strategic step was critical in the rapidly changing health-care landscape and ensured an encouraging future for our employees and patients for years to come. His kindness, friendship and sense of humor was felt by his fellow board members and staff alike. He was an inspiring mentor that put everyone around him at ease and encouraged us to see the joy in the moment. He was a gentle and inquisitive man that put others first. You could always count on him for a joke to lighten the mood and he always made time for anyone who needed his assistance and support. Gene was a wonderful influence on our organization and to those he worked with. His enthusiasm about life was contagious and he showed us how to laugh at ourselves and reminded us not take small things too seriously. Gene will be missed by all and celebrated through our memories. -Linda Marzano, CEO


Pacific Science Center
Gene Colin was a wonderful friend and supporter of the Pacific Science Center. He was one of the rare people who understood intuitively what was required for a large visible institution to be able to continue its service to the community as well as to take care of its historic facilities. His care for PSC was expressed in many ways. When he learned that the vans used for the Mercer Slough Environmental Center programs were well beyond their service lives Gene funded replacement vans, understanding that safe vehicles were important to allow year-round education programs about wetlands and nature for adults, youth and families to be continued with safety. His deep understanding of construction and facilities was evident when he saw the challenges the Science Center faced to make itself ready to receive the 700,000 guests that would be coming to see the King Tut exhibition in 2012. He spearheaded the extensive work that included installing a beautiful glass elevator, remodeling our restrooms, creating a glass walkway for queuing guests, and modernizing our exhibit hall to improve the airflow and lighting to accommodate the large crowds. This gave PSC not only the ability to present the incredible King Tut exhibit to our community, but to have the ongoing facility capability to host other major exhibitions that require museum quality environments. As part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration, Gene made a special gift that allowed the Science Center to restore the iconic globes at the top of the arches. These original 1962 World’s Fair globes had not been working for more than 15 years. As a result, the entire community once again can enjoy their gentle light. For decades it has been common practice for guests to make a wish as they throw coins into the reflecting ponds and fountains. In preparation for the 50th Anniversary Celebration the Science Center found 50 gallons of coins that had accumulated in the pipes under the ponds. They were corroded to the extent that they were not acceptable by the banks. Gene’s imagination and generosity kicked in. He made a generous contribution to the Science Center in return for the coins which he put to use in a variety of ways, with many being passed out around the world. One of his most unique and special acts occurred at one point in time when Gene learned that the Science Center was facing a significant cash shortage and needed a special guaranteed line of credit. Without being asked he simply and generously offered to cosign the note, providing the security the Science Center needed to meet its needs. Those involved at the Science Center cherished this pragmatic man who demonstrated the characteristics of curiosity, commitment, vision, community building, love of youth and education. What he did has made — and continues to make — a difference in the lives of children and their families throughout our region and beyond. -Michal Allaire


Seattle Humane Society
Gene Colin’s office at Ferguson Construction was just up the street from Seattle Humane, and for years he drove past the squat cinder block building on his way to work. One day a friend invited Gene to tour the inside of the aging facility, hoping he’d support the budding campaign to build a shelter and teaching hospital at the site. On the tour, Gene saw veterinarians perform surgeries in a cramped, converted storage closet, while animals recovered on gym mats on the floor. He saw towering stacks of pet food dishes, water bowls and cat boxes waiting to be washed by hand, due to a lack of electrical capacity for a dishwasher. He marveled that Seattle Humane saved and adopted 7,000 homeless and abandoned pets every year, despite the conditions. After the tour, Gene told the CEO that Seattle Humane needed a new shelter now, not later, and he wrote a big check on the spot. He called later that day to say we should rip up the check, because he and Susan had decided to double the amount. That’s how it was with Gene. He was a big-hearted and generous supporter, advisor, mentor and friend. He boldly stepped up when he saw a need and inspired others to do the same. He joined the board, helped with facility and construction decisions, and made the donation that closed the gap to unlock a $2 million matching grant. He loved the Humane Teen Club and Animal Adventures Summer Camp, and supported scholarships for children in need. He was friendly and fun with staff, giving them rides to board meetings in his fast new Tesla. He even let the CEO drive! Gene’s whole-hearted gifts of time, talent and treasure will ensure his legacy lives on in the new shelter and in our community. We will honor his memory and contributions when we celebrate our grand opening in December, and know he will be with us in spirit. We will always remember Gene and will miss him dearly. -David Lowe, CEO


Seattle Nativity School
Gene Colin has been a tremendous supporter and friend of Seattle Nativity School. He was a founding donor, giving a substantial initial gift that inspired others to join in the effort to establish a Nativity school in our bustling city. Gene’s generosity certainly did not stop with that initial gift. He also served on the Seattle Nativity School Board of Directors, where he encouraged, chided, and (dare I say it?) even provoked us in to committing still more of our time, effort and energy to what would become a project that was beloved to him. He was a frequent visitor to our campus, often stopping by simply to say hello or to introduce friends or relatives of his to the school. Upon departure, Gene would often leave us with gifts ranging from Starbucks cards, to coffee makers, to gently used jackets or a new down pillow that he really enjoyed so much that he purchased a few for our staff. Only a week before Gene’s final departure from this world, he brought his mother-in-law over to school for a visit and lunch with our students. Before their visit had ended, he had greeted and been greeted by several of our students, affirming them and their good handshakes. As Gene left, he dropped off a package of coffee cups from Ferguson Construction— yet another indicator of his care for our school. Gene left behind him a legacy of good gifts, not the least of which was his love for the students, faculty, and staff of Seattle Nativity School. Gene was a true patron to all of us. He will be greatly missed. -Fr. Jeffrey McDougall, S.J.


South Seattle College Foundation
Gene Colin has been a close friend and supporter of South Seattle College since 2003. He will be dearly missed by all at South who were lucky enough to call him a friend and a colleague. Gene’s passion and dedication began with his service on South’s President’s Advisory Committee and he was elected to the South Seattle College Foundation board in 2004. As Gene became more and more passionate about South’s mission, fellow board member, Sally Brotman, asked him to serve on the scholarship committee. Gene was impressed by the diversity of the students and inspired by the challenges students were overcoming to complete their education. He was moved to support South’s Georgetown campus by naming the Gene J. Colin Education Hall – which houses South trades programs, and apprenticeships. Gene became President of the South Seattle College Foundation in 2011. During the annual board retreat, Gene was giving one of his inspirational, rallying speeches and said “Why can’t we just do it? Give every student tuition to attend college.” Gene went on to lead the Foundation board through the largest campaign in their history – raising $8.2 million to endow the 13th Year Promise Scholarship, and offer every graduating senior from Cleveland, Chief Sealth, Rainier Beach and West Seattle High School their first year at South, tuition free. Gene and his wife Susan have personally supported the 13th year Promise Campaign with a transformational gift. Gene’s genuine care, leadership, inspiration and fire for supporting students at South will live on through the lasting legacy he has left here. BELIEVE. -Heather Foss

St. James Cathedral

Gene Colin and Ferguson Construction generously contributed to the many projects that we enjoy in this beautiful St. James Cathedral, a special place where we are celebrating his life today. In 1992, he was part of the remodeled cabinetry and the carpeting of the cathedral sacristy after an arson fire. During 1994, Gene was a major contributor to the cathedral renovations. He served as the general contractor for the cathedral centennial projects; construction of the Pastoral Outreach Center, the Archbishop Murphy Courtyard, and the handicap access improvements to the cathedral rectory. He was a major donor for the Saint John XXIII Shrine. In 2015, Gene acted as the prime contractor for the cathedral lighting project. Recently, Gene was involved in the remodel project of the Gallagher Center at the St. James Cathedral Rectory. The Friends of St. James Cathedral could always count on Gene to be one of the major sponsors for the annual Archbishop Hunthausen Charity Golf Tournament. Eternal rest grant unto thee, faithful friend, Gene Colin. -Fr. Mike Ryan and Larry Brouse


University of Washington College of Built Environments
Gene was inducted into the UW Construction Industry Hall of Fame in 2010 for his many contributions to the construction industry and to construction education. He served as a member of the Department of Construction Management Construction Industry Advisory Council for the past seven years providing sage advice to the department on student curricula, industry internships, and the challenges of leading a construction company. He was always willing to mentor students and invest in future generations of construction leaders. -John Schaufelberger

Background image was taken at Eastside Catholic School.

Gene and Susan Colin funded the creation of the stained glass that adorns the chapel narthex and interior.

View more photos of Eastside Catholic's Chapel here.