Former mayor Repanich dead at 91

Former Port Orchard Mayor Nick J. Repanich of Kent died Monday in Renton.

He was 91.

Repanich, best known for the construction of the interchange at Tremont and State Route 16, was mayor of Port Orchard for the decade between 1962 and 1972 and was a city councilman 14 years prior.

“He was such a gentleman,” said friend Dottie Gauvin. “I really, really loved that man.”

Gauvin said she and her husband first met Repanich 15 years ago when they moved from Houston to Port Orchard.

After his kidney’s failed, he was forced onto dialysis.

“It was very, very sad to see him go like that,” Gauvin said. “But since he was on dialysis I think he would have preferred to go. He was such a wonderful Christian man; I think he’s with the Lord now.”

Repanich worked to install the Port Orchard Marina and the now-controversial downtown marquee. In 1986, Repanich was named Port Orchard Man of the Year and the city’s waterfront park was dedicated to him.

Repanich served on the Harrison Hospital Board of Directors, the Kiwanis Club, Masonic Lodge 98, the Salvation Army and the Port Orchard United Methodist Church, along with many others.

“Nick never told us he’d been mayor,” Gauvin said. “I think he was a little modest about his accomplishments. If he felt good about it, that was his reward.

Repanich was born Dec. 1, 1912, in Fresno, Calif. He graduated from Fresno Technical High School in 1931 and married LaVerne E. Cowin in 1954 in Port Orchard. He worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for 34 years as an apprentice instructor, industrial relations officer, personnel supervisor, machinist and plannerman. Repanich retired in 1970.

His brother, Anton Repanich, preceded him in death. Rapanich is survived by his wife; a son, John Repanich and his wife, Patricia, of Vis, Yugoslavia; two daughters, Emarlyn Schafer and husband, Glenn, of Port Orchard and Karen Lentz and husband, Ralph, of Kent; a sister, Mary Marriccini of Merced, Calif.; six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Friday at Port Orchard United Methodist Church.

An online memorial may be viewed at

“Everything I’ve heard about that man is good,” Gauvin said.

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