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Former state legislator Quall dies

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 13, 2020

Education Co-Chairs Reps. Dave Quall, D-Mount Vernon, and Gigi Talcott, R-Tacoma, congratulate each other on the House floor in Olympia on May 19, 1999, after unanimous passage in the House of school safety legislation requested by the governor. Quall died Thursday at age 84.  (Associated Press)
Education Co-Chairs Reps. Dave Quall, D-Mount Vernon, and Gigi Talcott, R-Tacoma, congratulate each other on the House floor in Olympia on May 19, 1999, after unanimous passage in the House of school safety legislation requested by the governor. Quall died Thursday at age 84. (Associated Press)
By Trevor Pyle Skagit Valley Herald

Dave Quall, who carved out a long and sterling career as an educator, legislator and coach, died Thursday. He was 84.

Quall, of Mount Vernon, served in the state House of Representatives for 18 years. For many of those years he chaired the Education Committee and – known for a dapper yellow jacket he’d wear when spring arrived – was dubbed “Mr. GQ” by then-Gov. Gary Locke.

Quall was noted for his fierce dedication to education, with a 2010 House resolution noting his role in the creation of the Northwest Career and Technical Academy in Mount Vernon and the Marine Technology Center in Anacortes.

Quall coached the Skagit Valley College men’s basketball team to two conference titles (1984, 1988), receiving coach of the year honors both years and later earning a place in the conference hall of fame.

In 11 seasons as coach, Quall had a 223-93 record while the Cardinals won five regional titles. He is also a member of the Skagit Valley College Hall of Fame.

“He was one of the most graciously kind people I’ve ever met in my life,” said Don Wick, who was an announcer when Quall coached the Cardinals. “He was kind to everyone he met. He was my friend, and I was lucky to have him as my friend.”

Quall spent 38 years as a teacher, coach and counselor at Mount Vernon High School.

Mark Johnson, who played basketball for Quall at Mount Vernon High School, said, “He was an honest person and cared about all of us … The group I played with, we bonded and Dave was the magnet that kept us going.”

Even after Quall was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease he helped his daughter Kay Quall coach the eighth-grade girls’ basketball team at LaVenture Middle School and participated in reunions for Skagit Valley College teams, as well as visited Skagit Valley College practices last year.

In a 2015 interview, Kay Quall said her father’s lessons went deeper – and lasted longer – than mere X’s and O’s.

“He has basketball knowledge, but his best quality is that he wants people to play hard,” she said. “You dive for loose balls. You play hard. You don’t look at the scoreboard … you ask, ‘Did I play my hardest?’ ”

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