Nisbets 'reluctant' to leave Sequim

Andy Nisbet loves people and he loves books, the latter of which is apparent from the boxes and boxes of books he packed up before moving to Leavenworth, Kan., on Sunday, Oct. 25.

A Sequim resident since 1976 and 24th District state representive from 1978-1982, the 89-year-old Nisbet and his wife Haroldine moved to be closer to their children.

Nisbet said he always knew this was where he would retire because of what happened when he visited in 1963 to look for property.

He was starting to fix a flat tire in Gardiner when a man in a pickup truck stopped and offered use of his jack.

Then a second truck stopped and, after talking about fishing, the driver offered him some of his salmon catch.

“I said, ‘This is where I’m going to retire.’ Then I bought a home in 1965 and we moved in 1976,” he said.

Tried not to work

Nisbet said he tried to retire when he moved here and so bought the obligatory golf clubs and boat and made the obligatory visits to Dungeness Spit and Olympic National Park.

Then boredom set in so he ran for the state House of Representatives in 1978 and defeated Port Angeles Democrat Don McDonald.

Nisbet said he ran even after being told Republicans didn’t get elected from this area.

Because of his background, he was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee although just a freshman legislator. He also chaired the House Human Services Appropriations Committee in 1981.

Nisbet was part of the Legislature that during the 1981-1982 recession temporarily reimposed the sales tax on food that had been removed by a 1970 citizens initiative.

He said it was a tough decision but the alternative was cutting programs and no one was willing to have theirs cut.

Started Sequim’s Zucchini Festival

Nisbet lost his re-election bid in November 1982 so he joined the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce and helped start the Zucchini Festival.

He talks proudly of the event’s three-page spread in the Los Angeles Times.

Nisbet also was the Clallam County United Way chairman, president of the Sequim Noon Rotary Club, a founding board member of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation and served two terms as a Port of Port Angeles commissioner during the 1990s.

Nisbet laughs when he recounts the battles over the “ghostriders” at the port’s loading docks.

Union rules required a union member to drive the logging trucks from the gate to the loading dock. But independent truckers wouldn’t let anyone else drive their means of livelihood.

So “ghostriders” from the union sat in the truck next to the truck driver from the gate to the dock and back to satisfy union rules, Nisbet said.

Then those ghostriders required a supervisor, so a “ghostrider supervisor” position was created, he said.

Nisbet said he and his wife love the area and the people but, because of their ages, their children want the couple to move closer to them.

“So with great reluctance we are moving to Leavenworth, Kan.”

“We’re going to miss the area but most of all we’re going to miss the people.”

Reach Brian Gawley at

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