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King County Housing Authority
Terry McLlarky, King County Housing Authority commissioner, Dies at 76
King County Housing Authority commissioner Terry McLlarky died July 6 at the Redmond Care and Rehabilitation Center. He was 76.
For the past decade, McLlarky was a resident and the key keeper of Casa Juanita, an 80-unit public housing complex for seniors and persons with disabilities located in Kirkland, Wash. McLlarky moved to Kirkland in 2003 to live closer to his daughter Jennifer Wittenberg and her family. From 1995-2002, McLlarky was active as a civic volunteer in the Town of Hudson, N.H., where he served on the sewer utility, conservation, and budget committees. He retired from careers in material control and management information systems. McLlarky received a bachelor’s degree in computer science, graduating cum laude from New Hampshire College, now called Southern New Hampshire University.
County Executive Dow Constantine appointed McLlarky to KCHA’s Board of Commissioners in 2010. McLlarky also served as a member of KCHA’s Resident Advisory Committee since 2005. Both roles enabled McLlarky to help guide the Authority’s programs and policies.
“Terry stood out for his intelligence, humor, commitment and compassion,” said KCHA Executive Director Stephen Norman. “He believed that without public housing, many senior citizens who depend on small fixed incomes from Social Security would be living on the street, and was proud of the role he played in ensuring that they could live out their lives in dignity. He was so passionate about the mission of the Authority that despite his increasing frailty he actively continued his work with both the Board and the RAC right up until the end.”
McLlarky was a very visible presence at Casa Juanita. He could be found playing dominoes as part of a foursome in the community room almost every evening. Until he was weakened by his illnesses, McLlarky also enjoyed working in his garden plot – a flower lover, he was especially enamored of roses − and taking morning walks on the trail in the wetland behind his complex. Fellow residents describe him as unfailingly pleasant, friendly and helpful.
Casa Juanita resident Carol Workman remembers McLlarky for his wonderful sense of humor, his sense of responsibility, and his varied interests. “As key keeper of the building, he was very conscientious,” said Workman. “If one of the residents hadn’t been seen for a day or two, he would always look in on them to make sure they were alright. But he also had a good sense of humor and related well to everyone in the building. He loved to read, watch Shark Tank and NASCAR races on TV, and play dominoes and cards with his friends.”
Petr Grinberg, another Casa Juanita resident and fellow dominoes player, described McLlarky as “a very nice friend. If I ever needed anything, he would always help me.”
“Terry brought valuable perspective and insights on what it meant to be a KCHA resident to our meetings,” said KCHA Board Chair Doug Barnes. “He kept us focused on the very real human impacts of what the Authority does. His wit, wisdom and compassion will be very much missed.”
McLlarky is survived by his sister, four daughters, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 13 at the Crossroads Bible Church, Fireside Room, 15815 Southeast 37th Street, in Bellevue.