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On Aug. 11, 2008, Gregory Hampel was hit and killed by a car in West Seattle, as he tried rescue his dog Paloma, who had scampered into the street. He was 39 years old.
Hampel is survived by his partner and husband Ed Swaya and their 6-year-old daughter Vivian. His siblings Wolfgang, Henny, Annette, Maurice, Dirk and Susan all live in the Pacific Northwest, and Hampel’s brother Maurice Hampel lives on Vashon Island.
Hampel moved to Vashon in July 1994, and lived on Quartermaster Harbor until recently selling his home and buying property on Spring Beach Road.
After two years of design and permitting challenges, Hampel and Swaya planned to begin building their new home in two weeks.
Above all else, Gregory was known for his kindness. More than 200 people attended his memorial service last Thursday, though it was never publicly announced, and many shared stories.
Hampel always seemed to be the person on hand in the time of need — whether it was transporting a friend to the hospital, digging the grave for a friend’s pet or being a listening ear and caring shoulder at just the right moment; the stories of his friends and family bore testimony to his many loving acts.
“Mr. H” was a recognized leader in his role as teacher at Seabury School in Tacoma where he taught first-grade. Hampel was the teacher that everybody remembered: the teacher who was able to connect with and assist a challenging student and his or her family, the teacher who made sure every student received at least one book from their book “wish list” — choosing and purchasing a book from his own pocket if a parent wasn’t able to.
Hampel’s daughter Vivian would have been in his first-grade class beginning next month. Donations for Vivian Swaya’s Seabury School Education Fund are being gratefully accepted.
An account for Vivian’s education has been set up at US Bank. Donations for Vivian Swaya’s Education Fund (account number 2535-5414-9521) can be sent to:
US Bank, 1436 S. 312th St, Federal Way, WA 98003.
Or simply go in to any US Bank location.
At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council’s transportation committee will meet in the McMurray Middle School library.
The group will discuss improvement of transportation service on and to the Island, including Metro, car ferry and passenger-only ferry service.