August F. Hahn - Chinook Observer: Obituaries
KIRKLAND — August F. “Fritz” Hahn, long time Long Beach attorney, passed away due to complications of kidney disease March 18, 2014 at his home in Kirkland, WA. Fritz was born in Winslow to Catherine and August M. Hahn. Their eldest child, he spent his youth between Bainbridge Island and Seattle. Even in his youth, he was ambitious, and chose to go to school in Seattle, as he would get a better education.
He is preceded in death by his wife Marilyn and his brother George. He is survived by his four children, John, August Jr., Geoffrey and Mark.
What can be said? A veritable icon of the Peninsula for the better part of 20 years, Fritz was known to everyone on the beach, and I do mean everyone. You either loved him, because he was working for you, or you hated him, because he was working for the other side in a legal issue.
Fritz went to the University of Washington, where his studies were interrupted to serve in the Navy during the Korean War.
After returning from service, he obtained his law degree, and went to work for the King County Prosecutor’s office, where he handled several very interesting cases. He decided to move to Pacific County in 1966 to join the only other lawyer in the county. After his partner passed away in 1967, Fritz invited James B. “Jim” Finlay, a fraternity brother at the UW, to join him, as there was too much work in the county for a single attorney. Though their partnership did not last long, both stayed on the beach and practiced law, with Fritz handling most of the civil issues, and Jim handling more of the corporate issues.
Fritz was one heck of a lawyer. Once, a local woman shot her husband dead as he walked into their home. Not only did Fritz get her off the murder charge (an early spousal abuse defense in Washington), he managed to secure her double indemnity on the husband’s life insurance policy.
Fritz was also the only attorney I’d ever heard of who would take payment for legal service in fish. The family always had fresh salmon, halibut, and Dungeness crab because of this. His attitude was that if somebody needed help, Fritz would take care of them, and figure out the details later.
Fritz also had a thing against the feds. One time, a local fisherman was about to get his boat seized by the government for failure to pay taxes. Fritz went to a judge, argued double jeopardy (the feds had closed the fishing season, and thus the fisherman’s livelihood was lost). He won the argument and literally threw the feds off the boat. And, he did it with a chuckle.
Fritz was a community leader. He helped to found the Peninsula Playhouse back in 1980, which has since morphed into the popular Peninsula Players. Unfortunately, he was too ill to come down and see the new theater at the Chinook gym.
Fritz was also instrumental in transferring Beards Hollow, a former campground, to the state park system. Without his advice, we wouldn’t have the beautiful park and trails that are there to enjoy today.
Fritz left the beach after an unsuccessful campaign to become the county judge. He ended up in Yakima, where he became (at the time) the only Public Defendant with a winning record. Again, true to form, he helped free a local Hispanic man who, while being chased by gang members, pulled a gun while running, shot behind him without looking, and killed one of the gang members. He even attempted to learn Spanish, as he felt it better to try and fail to communicate, than not try at all.
Fritz briefly moved back to the Peninsula, living in Ilwaco until his wife Marilyn became ill. He then moved to the Seattle area, where he lived until his passing.
Per his explicit request, there will be no memorial service. If you wish to remember Fritz, please consider making a donation to Providence Hospice of Seattle.
Loving tribute authored by Mr. Hahn’s family.