David L. Rockwell passed away at his home in Redmond on Friday, June 12th, after a 2-year battle with cancer. He left this world peacefully and with his family at his side, just as he would have scripted it. Dave, as his friends and family called him, was born on December 18, 1943 in Concord, California. He is survived by his loving wife, Jane, and his two cherished daughters, Jill and Tracy, their husbands (both Johns) and two grandchildren, Savannah and Jack.
Dave and the true love of his life, Jane, were married in California in January of 1965. They immediately started a family in Stockton and had two girls. He relocated the family to the Seattle area in 1971 to take a position in the mortgage banking business. His association with the real estate industry and his entrepreneurial spirit prompted him to found the Rockwell Institute in 1974, which continues to be a leader in real estate license training and education in Washington to this day. More than 150,000 students have been touched by Dave's instruction - both through his course materials and his own teachings. He was a primary instructor at the school for over 25 years (something he truly loved doing), only relinquishing this task to others in the organization within the last few years so he could focus on product development. His years as a teacher gained him a reputation as an intelligent and eloquent speaker with a great sense of humor.
Throughout the Rockwell Institute's history all the family members played a role in the business, from janitor to President - but always under the watchful and sometimes critical eye of Dave. He had very strong opinions about how his business should conduct its affairs and through his strong leadership Rockwell has become a market leader in the real estate education field, achieving and maintaining over 60% market share in Washington. But this desire for perfection in the company and its products did not deter him from understanding the importance of people - his employees were more to him than just employees, they were family. Over the last several years, the running of the day to day operations has been transitioning over to his youngest daughter, Tracy, who will carry on in the Rockwell tradition Dave worked so hard to create.
Dave's entrepreneurial spirit was also evident in everything else he did - from planning cross-country motorcycle trips with his family (he traveled through all the lower 48 states numerous times) to remodeling his home. He always approached life with an eye for the bold and creative - nothing could just be a simple project or process, it needed character, color and scale. Dave especially loved the home he and his wife created in Redmond and managed several large remodeling projects that stand as a reminder of his creative talent and his drive for bigger, better and bolder.
Dave was also a gifted wordsmith. Stories of his life and experiences, no matter how often repeated, captivated his audience with his ability to place you there by his side and see, smell , taste, experience exactly as it was - leaving nothing, and at the same time everything, to the imagination.
Dave loved sports, in particular the Washington Huskies (through thick and thin), Seattle Mariners and the Seahawks. Even though he was a California native, he quickly bonded to the Seattle sports scene and was a truly rabid fan; game time was sacred at the Rockwell household. There was always a motorcycle in his garage and he took frequent cross-country trips - sometimes with friends, sometimes with family.
His values were unflappable - honesty, integrity and commitment were part of his DNA and he passed these values on to his family, employees and students. He was liked, and usually loved, by everyone who met him and was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law and friend. The world was a better place with him in it, and a lesser place with him gone.