Ex-Safeco CEO Trafton dies
Sun., Jan. 23, 2005
SEATTLE – Roland Milton “Milt” Trafton, 85, former chief executive of Safeco Corp. and a corporate art collector, died Saturday.
Trafton, who assembled a nationally recognized art collection as head of the locally based insurance company, died after being hospitalized with worsening complications from pneumonia, friends and relatives said.
In 1953, the year he become chief executive, a subsidiary was established as Selective Auto and Fire Insurance Company of America, later shortened to Safeco, the name adopted for the parent company in 1968.
In the 1980s, Trafton led a successful defense against a takeover bid by Lincoln National Corp. of Fort Wayne, Ind., as Safeco’s stock price rose from about $30 to $46 a share.
In the 1960s, Trafton was among the founders and later served as chairman of ArtsFund, then known as Corporate Council for the Arts, which seeks to foster budget stability for nonprofit arts groups.
He also was a founder and chairman of the Fifth Avenue Theater, the city’s leading venue for traveling Broadway musicals.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.