John Cate

John, or Jay as he was known to his childhood friends and family, was born August 19th, 1950 in Portland, Oregon to Edward and Jacquelyn (Pederson) Cate. Ed and Jacqui met on a DC-3 flight; he was the pilot and she was a flight attendant, or “stewardess” as they were called back in 1949, for United Airlines. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work out so when John was one year old, he and his mother moved to Burien so she could take an office job at SeaTac Airport, as stewardesses back then could not be married, divorced, or have children. When John was three years old, he met his lifelong friend and “brother” Philip Emerson, who now lives in retirement from the Kent School district with his wife Bing in her home town in the Philippines, but they kept in touch until John was no longer able to. John attended Sunnydale Elementary, Sunset Junior High, and graduated from Glacier High School, Class of 1968. As is the nature of impermanence, all three of these schools are long gone. From there John studied Film Production at Evergreen State College in the early 1970’s, Engineering at Western Washington State College (now University), and earned an Associate of Applied Science in Manufacturing Engineering Technology at Highline Community College.

He worked as a draftsman at several employers, including Olympic Foundry and The Boeing Company, but his true passions in life were Aviation History, Maritime History, fine scale modeling, and motorcycling. He belonged to both the International Plastic Modeling Society (IPMS) and the Northwest Scale Modelers (NWSM) and the meticulousness of his model work went beyond the description of mere “hobby.” He would spend countless hours performing research to ensure historical accuracy as he built, and often re-built, his airplane models. Quality over quantity was always a must. “Why can’t the World just leave me alone and let me build my model airplanes?” he would say. He was also a Docent at the Museum of Flight in Seattle from 1993-2003.

He would often ride his 1978 Triumph Tiger motorcycle (so British the clutch and rear brake were on the opposite sides) to MSI (Motorcycle Service Inc.) in Georgetown to meet up with other motorcyclists to work on bikes and/or celebrate “Beer o’clock” at 5pm after the shop closed. He also took interest in 19th Century sailing ships, and read every Patrick o’Brian novel of the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Steven Maturin, including the first novel “Master and Commander.”

John met his wife Liz Monge while both were living at The Cliff Apartments in Des Moines, Washington and they married October 12, 1991.They were active members of Unity Church of Kent for many years, and in 1993 John performed in their amateur production of Fiddler on the Roof as Avram the bookseller. He didn’t just “play” Avram the bookseller…he WAS Avram the bookseller!

Two years ago, John was diagnosed with malignant neoplasm, a.k.a glioblastoma brain cancer in his Temporal Lobe, which is 100% fatal. His motorcycling and modeling days came to an end, but he stayed in touch with the modeling community until a few weeks before his death. He left us on February 19th while listening to ocean sounds, a few hours after his wife read to him the first three pages from Patrick o’Brian’s second book, “Post Captain” to the sounds of a wooden sailing ship on the water. We wish him smooth sailing as he leaves behind his wife of 30 years, Liz Monge Cate, cousins Jeanne Johnson and her husband Mark, Bill Thompson, Rob Thompson, Kit Thompson, Mark Cate, Lyndell Cate, and his Aunt Pat Thompson who turned 100 last Fall. Last but not least, Dahlia the Dilute Calico Cat who has been our loving companion for almost 14 years.

Many thanks to the Mountain View Fire Department, the MultiCare Cancer Center team whose members gave John two more years of life he would not have had without their skilled care, and to the MultiCare Hospice Team which, in his last three weeks, did their best to keep him comfortable as he endured an ordeal that we would not wish upon anyone. Please make remembrances to the MultiCare Health Foundations Cancer Care , Palliative Care and Hospice (https://give.multicare.org/impact-areas/oncology-support (https://give.multicare.org/impact-areas/palliative-care)),or your favorite local NPR station.

A celebration of John’s life will be held at the Airways Taproom in Kent on Saturday, April 23rd starting at 2pm.

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