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In Memory

Harry Gregg Brelsford

Harry Gregg Brelsford
1924 - May 7, 2003


Died on May 7, 2003 at 8:35 AM of congestive heart failure. Mr. Brelsford was born in Houston, Texas, in 1924. He attended the College of William & Mary, but after Pearl Harbor transferred to the University of Texas, where he was a member of the SAE Fraternity. He was called to active duty in May 1943. He was wounded in action at St. Die, France, and received the Purple Heart. He graduated from Law School at the University of Texas, became an associate at Vinson & Elkins in Houston, and married Diane Bowyer of Dallas. They had been married 54 years at the time of his death.

His career in law brought moves to Billings, Denver and Anchorage. In 1980 he became General Counsel of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, where he remained until he retired in June of 1988. He then moved to California to join his wife, who had completed Seminary. Following the Valdez Oil Spill incident in March of 1989, Mr. Brelsford returned to Alyeska Pipeline for the rest of that year, then "retired" again. From the 1950's Mr. Brelsford was very active in the Episcopal Church on the vestry and as a Lay Eucharist Minister, and was active in various committees, especially committees dealing with alcoholism and substance abuse problems.

While in Alaska he was privileged to serve non-profit organizations, as President of the Board of the Alaska Treatment Center, and as President of the Board of the Episcopal Meier Lake Conference Center. In California Mr. Brelsford served on several Boards and Commissions of the Episcopal Diocese of California. He and Diane moved to Washington State in 1992, and resided in Seattle until his death.

Activities during his life included golfing, fishing, designing model trains and traveling. An avid reader, Harry enjoyed history, crossword puzzles, and being with his grandchildren. He was a natural comic, always good for a laugh to cheer one up. A plainspoken and compassionate man, he was well known for his honesty, integrity, and his kindness to many.

He is survived by his wife, the Reverend Diane, five children: Gregg, Taylor, James, Virginia Diane and Harry Matthew; four daughters in law: Puyong, Terry, Lily, and Kristen; a son in law: Alexander Belyaev; nine grandchildren: Ginna Ruth, Jimin, Alan, Julian, Christa, Nicholas, Alexandra, Geoffrey and Harry; and two step-grandchildren: Alyssa and Jason. He is also survived by his sister, Nancy Brelsford Thawley, of Washington, DC. and a niece, Virginia Thawley.

Services will be held Saturday, May 17th at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 2330 Viewmont Way West, Seattle, with a Gathering for Remembrances at 11 a.m., and a Memorial Eucharist at 12 noon. In lieu of flowers, the Family suggests memorials to Ascension Episcopal Church (Seattle), Episcopal Diocese of Olympia (Seattle), St. Marks Episcopal Cathedral, or the charity of donor's choice.

Published in the Seattle Times, May 11, 2003

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04/30/18 08:11 AM #1    

Jon Bose

It's a small world...

Monday, February 25th, 1980, was my first day at APSC.  I'm on Bragaw I 5th floor with my recruiter and am introduced to Harry as a fellow Texan.

"Where in Texas are you from, Jon?" he inquired.

"Dumas, sir," I replied

He thought aloud a moment, "Dumas, Texas...Who do I know in Dumas?  You know Hugh Lyle?"

"Yes, sir.  I grew up down the street from his family.  His eldest daughter and I have been friends for life.  You know Hugh?"

"Hugh and I roomed together at UT Law School."


You just never know who you're going to meet in this business of ours.

04/30/18 11:46 AM #2    

Bill Howitt

Harry was always one of my favorite people during his time at Alyeska.  When I was at the Valdez Marine Terminal he came down to do Communications Meetings about the time that Alyeska really starting to limit smoking areas.  Responding to a Technician regarding how hard it was to go without a cigarette or to quit, he told a story.  He said, yes he did realize how hard it was, but he was lucky because he got to quit the "easy" way.  He had a heart attack and spent 2 weeks in an oxygen tent!  That was Harry.

Later, after Harry retired, I had the privilage of inheriting his desk.  It was a great old fashioned big wooden desk was lots of little places to keep notes and stuff.  Every now an then one of Harry's old post-it notes would come floating out and present itself. Never failed to give me a warm memory.


04/30/18 04:33 PM #3    

Wayne Fredeen

Harry Brelsford...a true gentleman and professional!  They just do not make people like Harry anymore, with his mix of humor, decision making skills and his love to wonder the halls of Bragaw street looking for cookies, set out by our loving employees, knowing that bait would lure a loving visit from him.  While I was working in the contracts department, we would often bring issues that needed his attention.  He always greeted us like lifelong friends, most courteous and concerned for issues we brought to him.  I remember sitting in his office with him, and he says just sit down and I will work the problem.  Then he would argue one side of the issue, walk to the otherside of his desk and provide the rebuttal and counter points.  I was humbled by this experience, as I sat and watched a true genius perform his legal skills.  There would always be a decision made, and one that was always fair to both sides of the issue.  Just loved that man!  Of the many outstanding professional people I was blessed to work with at APSC, Harry was my cherished....personally and professionally!

05/01/18 09:11 AM #4    

Gary Bader

I had the pleasure, like most of the commentors, to meet and work with Harry.  There were, mostly Owner Company Loanees, persons who were quite impressed with their own importance, Harry wasn't one of them.

05/08/18 08:07 PM #5    

Dennis Prendeville

Harry G. Brelsford is a legend.


I worked on TAPS for 25 years and the most important day to me was the day in 1984 that Harry Brelsford, Alyeska’s General Counsel asked me to go to work for him. I became Alyeska’s Landman and did so for 15 years. Harry was my mentor and taught me more than I can even express. It was what you might expect if there ever was a high level, hands on, graduate course in “major league problem solving.” 


I was always impressed with his integrity and ability to deal with all situations as they came at him one after another. One day when asked “how’s it going”, his reply was “other than the 7 lawsuits filed against us today we are doing ok!” Another time when some of our employees were attempting to take an inappropriate shortcut, he said simply “We are going to do what we agreed to do.” I remember thinking I sure am glad I’m on his team.


On my wall, at home, proudly displayed, is a framed picture of the “Yukon Ferry” in operation. This was before we built the Yukon River Bridge (Ed Patton Bridge). This picture has written on it “Good Luck Dennis, to my friend and colleague” signed H G Brelsford”. Yeah, Wow.


There is a recent book (2016) entitled “The Landmen  - How They Secured the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Right-of-Way” written by Armand Spielman and Michael Travis. Harry Brelsford is one of the main characters in the book and it is set in the time period of what I would say is the beginning and “the wild West” of the TAPS project. I think anyone interested in the TAPS history will find this book to be a great read. Armond and Michael had me help them edit the book.


Yes, Harry G. Brelsford is a legend.

Dennis E Prendeville - May 8, 2018





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