Jan Gleason, architect, leader, cellist, soccer player, traveler, volunteer, cherished friend and colleague: For a woman with so many accomplishments, talents and goals, Gleason was exceptionally quiet and humble. For this reason and countless others, she is and will be greatly missed since she passed away on Jan. 6 at the age of 61.
She worked as executive director of the architectural design firm Environmental Works from 1997 until her retirement in December 2008 and served as project manager for the Homeless Remembrance Project from the summer of 2007 until her death.
Daniel Glenn, Environmental Works' current executive director, recalls Gleason as both a savvy businesswoman and as a talented architect committed to building uplifting spaces for low-income people. Gleason helped Environmental Works grow when she merged it with her own firm, Gleason and Associates, in 1997, and maintained loyal clients through the quality work she inspired in her architects.
"There was a real devotion to the work climate here and that really translated into the quality of the output, and thus into the repeat clients," says Sally Knodell, a longtime colleague of Gleason's at Environmental Works.
"It was really about the people who worked here and the people we worked for," Adds Roger Tucker, Environtmental Works' director of architecture and a colleague of Gleason's for 22 years.
Among Gleason's achievements while at Environmental Works were the designs for the Evergreen State College Campus Children's Center in Olympia and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Home in Seattle's Central District. Child care centers were of special interest to Gleason, and she always strived to create healthy, light-filled spaces for children.
Her contributions to the Homeless Remembrance Project