World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Herman Sarkowsky

Article Id: WHEBN0014215767
Reproduction Date:

Title: Herman Sarkowsky  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Larry Weinberg, List of Portland Trail Blazers executives, History of the Portland Trail Blazers, 1970 NBA Expansion Draft, Paul Allen
Collection: 1925 Births, 2014 Deaths, American People of German-Jewish Descent, American Racehorse Owners and Breeders, American Real Estate Businesspeople, German Jews, Jewish American Sportspeople, National Basketball Association Executives, National Basketball Association Owners, National Football League Owners, People from Seattle, Washington, Portland Trail Blazers Executives, Portland Trail Blazers Owners, Seattle Seahawks Owners, University of Washington Alumni
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Herman Sarkowsky

Herman Sarkowsky
Born June 9, 1925
Gera, Thuringia, Germany
Died November 2, 2014(2014-11-02) (aged 89)
Seattle, Washington, United States of America
Residence Seattle, Washington, Rancho Mirage, California
Education Broadway High School, University of Washington
Occupation Real estate developer, NBA team owner/founder, racehorse owner/breeder, philanthropist
Known for Key Tower, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Seahawks
Board member of
Herman and Faye Sarkowsky Charitable Foundation, National Association of Home Builders, HLTH Corporation, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Symphony
Spouse(s) Faye Mondschein[1]
Children Steven, Cathy

Herman Sarkowsky (June 9, 1925 – November 2, 2014) was a Seattle, Washington, United States businessman, philanthropist, thoroughbred breeder, and former sports executive. He was a co-founder of two Pacific Northwest sports franchises, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Portland Trail Blazers 2
  • Seattle Seahawks 3
  • Thoroughbred horse racing 4
  • Business and investments 5
  • Philanthropy 6
  • Death 7
  • References 8

Early life and career

Sarkowsky was born in Gera, Thuringia, Germany, in 1925.[2] A Jew,[3] he and his family immigrated to New York City in 1934[2] after Adolf Hitler came to power. The family moved to Seattle, Washington in 1937.[3] A 1949 graduate of the University of Washington, he entered the home building and construction trade the following year.

Portland Trail Blazers

In 1970, an investment group consisting of Sarkowsky, Larry Weinberg of Beverly Hills, California, and Robert Schmertz of Lakewood, New Jersey paid US$3.7 million and was awarded an expansion NBA franchise in the city of Portland, Oregon. This team, soon to be named the Portland Trail Blazers, started play in November 1970. Sarkowsky was named president and managing partner of the team. His stake increased two years later when he bought out Schmertz, when the latter purchased the Boston Celtics. He reduced his stake in the team the next year, and sold the remainder of his stake in the Trail Blazers to Weinberg, who became managing partner in 1975.[4]

Seattle Seahawks

At the same time that Sarkowsky was owner of the Trail Blazers, he was also attempting to bring a NFL franchise to the city. A franchise was awarded to the city in June 1974. After the NFL made known its ownership terms (any ownership group must include one entity with controlling interest in the team), Sarkowsky entered into a partnership with the Nordstrom family in which the Nordstroms would have a 51% stake. The NFL granted the Nordstrom/Sarkwosky consortium ownership of the new Seattle franchise, which would be christened the Seahawks, in December of that year.[5] The Seahawks began play in 1976. Sarkowsky would sell his stake in the team in 1988.[4]

Thoroughbred horse racing

Herman Sarkowsky breeds and races Thoroughbred horses. He got started in the sport in 1960 when he purchased a US$2000 claimer. He would later be an investor in Northwest Racing Associates, which would construct Emerald Downs, a racetrack in Auburn, Washington. Several horses he owned would have success in the Breeders' Cup, including Phone Chatter, which won the 1993 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and Mr. Greeley, which placed in the 1995 Sprint.[6] As of November 2007, Sarkowsky owned 37 thoroughbreds, including 11 mares.[2]

Business and investments

In addition to his investments in team sports and horse racing, Sarkowsky is one of the most successful builders and real estate developers in Seattle history. He developed the Key Tower (now Seattle Municipal Tower) in Seattle, and was a partner in the Frederick and Nelson department store chain.[3] He founded the United Homes Corporation in the 1960s,[2] which would become the largest homebuilder in the Seattle area at the time. As of November 2007, Sarkowsky operates a private investment firm. He is a Lifetime Board Member of the National Association of Home Builders,[3] was a director of HLTH Corporation, and since its merger with WebMD sits on the board of that company (as of 2014).[7][8][9]


Sarkowksy has contributed to several philanthropic causes. He is a generous donor to the University of Washington, his alma mater, and sat on the board of the UW School of Medicine.[3] He also has served as a director of numerous charitable and cultural institutions, including the Seattle Foundation, the United Way, Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Seattle Symphony, and the Seattle Art Museum[2][3]


Sarkowksky died in November, 2014 in Seattle. He was 89.[10]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e "Profile: Herman Sarkowsky".  
  3. ^ a b c d e f "UW Medicine Board: Herman Sarkowsky".  
  4. ^ a b James P. Quirk, Rodney D. Fort (1992). Pay Dirt: The Business of Professional Team Sports.  
  5. ^ "Herman Sarkowsky". Norm Evans' Seahawks Report. 1979-11-04. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  6. ^ Herman Sarkowsky bio at Breeders'
  7. ^ , Newswire, Oct 23, 2009WebMD Announces Completion of Merger with HLTH Corporation. Retrieved 2014-01-30
  8. ^ "Our Board of Directors". HLTH Corporation official website. HLTH Corporation. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  9. ^ WebMD board of directors webpage. Retrieved 2014-01-30
  10. ^ Quick, Jason. "Herman Sarkowsky, original co-owner of Trail Blazers who saved franchise with a timely phone call, passes away in Seattle".  
Preceded by
team founder
Portland Trail Blazers majority owner
Succeeded by
Larry Weinberg
Preceded by
franchise created
Portland Trail Blazers President
Succeeded by
Larry Weinberg
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.