Roger Arthur Bublitz died July 23, 2020, at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Wash. An aortic aneurysm ended an 88-year life that had many successes, both personal and professional, and a few failures with lessons learned, and that left a host of colleagues and friends who were fortunate to have known him.
Roger was born on May 3, 1932, in Milwaukee, Wisc. He was the only child of Frederick (Fred) Bublitz and Pearl Hollander Bublitz. Roger’s early childhood memories included his parents desire to produce a concert pianist and an engineer, goals that were later supplanted by Roger’s interest in being a businessman, pilot and sailor.
The love of sailing surfaced at an early age. When Roger was 8 and learning to fish at Big Cedar Lake in Wisconsin, his eye would stray to the sailboats racing across the water. An old bed sheet and two bamboo poles attached to his grandpa’s fishing boat set the stage for many sailing adventures. Before very long, his grandfather gave Roger his first sailboat, “The Dolphin.”
Roger spent many happy years sailing. In 2018, as an instructor at the Seattle Sailing Club, he was named instructor of the year by the American Sailing Association.
After graduating in 1956 from Marquette University, Roger began his career in business management and sales that, for the next 30-plus years, would revolve around the design, manufacture, and sale of commercial and office furniture. Beginning in 1972 as sales manager with Cannell and Chaffin Business Interiors, Roger would go on to spend the majority of his professional life with the Gunlocke Co., moving up the ranks and around the country accepting assignments in Los Angeles, Calif., Boise, Idaho, Wayland, N.Y. and Washington, D.C.
In 1981, Roger realized another childhood dream when he earned his private pilot’s license and purchased a plane, which he kept at Santa Monica Airport in California. Family and friends were treated to short hops. But, most memorable was the flight from Santa Monica to Oshkosh, Wisc., for the annual International Air Show. These airplane flights included the discovery of Whidbey Island, Wash., where the Bublitzes would spend their retirement years beginning in 1996, living in Oak Harbor, Greenbank, and Clinton.
Roger and his college sweetheart, Betsy, née Wurl, were married in 1956, and it was from this union that son Todd Frederick and daughter Lisa Ann were born.
After his divorce, Roger met and married Diana Lou Sant in 1973. This marriage would be everlasting and added stepson Michael to the family tree. Roger’s encouragement and support were key to Michael’s educational successes, and Roger proudly supported his building contractor son Todd’s creativity and marketing of building industry related patented inventions.
When asked how he would like to be remembered, Roger flashed his infectious smile and threw out words and phrases including “persistent,” “not stubborn,” “a pilot and sailor extraordinaire,” “an improving pianist,” “a man who cared for others well-being,” “a very independent thinker with an uncanny ability to decipher truth from fiction” and “a man deeply in love with his wife.”
Roger never really retired, as he spent his years on Whidbey as a licensed tax preparer.
When not visiting family or traveling at home or abroad, he and Diana entertained clients and friends with Roger’s favorite Italian recipes and wine. Guests were often seated in their beautiful garden, where Roger would never fail to point how his handmade bird feeder was placed strategically where Gus the cat could see it through the window. Roger loved animals, especially cats. Dinner often included Roger’s playing his favorite piano pieces, including classical pieces, as well as favorites from George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, and Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart.
Roger is survived by his wife, Diana; son, Todd Frederick Bublitz and his wife, Kerry; stepson, Michael Allen Sant and his wife, Judy, and daughter, Lisa Ann Wilcox and her husband, Reg; grandchildren, Catherine Sant Marr and her husband, Joshua, David Winston Sant and his partner, Clint Sanborn, Erica Rockwood and her husband, Joe, Melissa Miller and her husband, Brandon, Justin Goodrich and his wife, Laura, and Errol Wilcox and Victor Wilcox; as well as several great-grandchildren and a host of close friends.
At Roger’s request, his ashes will be scattered in Puget Sound, arranged by the Neptune Society, at a future date. Friends can honor Roger’s life with donations to his favorite charities including WAIF, WICA and the Audubon Society.