Brad Middling, a lifelong islander, well-known businessman and active community member, died Friday, Aug. 20, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma, where he was being treated for COVID-19.
The details of Middling’s death were confirmed by his business partner, Mike Kirkland.
Middling, who was 58 years old, was a lifelong islander whose family has lived on Vashon for generations. He was well-known in the community as a businessman, family man, and generous friend to many.
He was a managing partner in Sound Properties, LLC, a company that has invested in properties in Washington and Colorado. In 2018, Middling and Sound Properties made news with the purchase of Vashon’s K2 building, purchased from the Sitca Corporation, which owns K2, for $1,230,000.
According to Kirkland, Sound Properties made additional large investments in the property in the ensuing years, totaling more than $1 million, addressing environmental issues on the site and preparing the building for lease. Kirkland said that Sound Properties’ interests in the building would continue in order to make it an asset to the community, as Middling always intended.
“We’re committed to that property,” he said.
Middling also founded Raab & Sons, a construction and excavation business that now is helmed by his son, Jacob Middling.
Brad’s life was rich with civic engagement and hobbies. He loved hunting, boating, fishing, and traveling with his family and friends. He leaves behind a large family, including grown and young children. He was also a mentor and inspiration to many, said Kirkland.
“He was everybody’s dad,” Kirkland said. “He was a very loving spirit. You could count on him.”
Middling’s oft-repeated credo, Kirkland said, was “Every day is a good day.”
Middling’s death marks the third occasion an islander has died of COVID-related causes, and the first to occur in 2021. Thomas “Tommy” Brooks Sudduth died on Dec. 7, 2020; Marvin Charles Benham, age 94, died on Dec. 29, 2020.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, which was open to the public, Brad’s son Jacob thanked the community for the outpouring of support his family had received since his father’s death. He said that his father had not been able to be vaccinated for COVID-19 because of medical issues.
But Jacob went on to write that before Brad had died of complications from the virus and heart problems, he had told him that he hoped what was happening to him would make more people consider getting vaccinated.
“It might be something that is against your belief, might be against your political stance, might just be scared it will do harm to you,” Jacob wrote. “But please know dad asked me for several days to let everyone know that just a 1% chance at saving a life is better than none at all. He experienced the pain, the loneliness in the hospital, he wanted to try and avoid that for anyone else.”
Among the many responses to Jacob’s post, expressing deep condolences and support for the Middling family, four people said they had decided to get vaccinated in the wake of Brad’s death.