News

Businessman, political contributor found dead

by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

Sequim business owner Jay Ketchum was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday morning, Nov.11.

 

The death was investigated by the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ron Cameron said Ketchum undoubtedly committed suicide and it must have happened early in the morning.

 

He declined to comment further, out of respect for the family.

 

The death occurred near the Washington State Patrol weigh station on U.S. Highway 101 near Port Angeles.

 

Ketchum owned Affordable Roofing, Affordable Crane and Affordable Services.

 

Along with running three local businesses, Ketchum was active politically and donated thousands of dollars and in-kind services to local candidates.

 

Most recently, in 2010, Ketchum displayed large signs supporting Deb Kelly for Clallam County Prosecutor around the peninsula on his cranes and trucks. He donated thousands of dollars to the Clallam County Republican Central Committee and supported candidates Rick Porter, a Clallam County District Court judge; Phil Kitchel, who ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner in 2002; and Sue Forde, who lost to incumbent Steve Tharinger in 2003.

 

“Jay did a lot of good things for a lot of people that I think the community might not have even been aware of,” Kelly said. “He was a friend and I am deeply saddened by his death.”

 

Ketchum also was in the public eye after allegedly pulling a gun on a Sheriff’s deputy and chest-bumping him during a confrontation in May 2002.

 

Ketchum waived his right to a speedy trial and agreed to a stipulated order, which required him to have no further violations of the law for two years, forfeit his right to a firearm for two years and consult a counselor to undergo an anger management evaluation.

 

The order was not on the record until December 2010 after a local attorney requested the case be re-opened. The charges were officially dropped Dec. 10, 2010.

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