Former SOS owner dies in crash

Dan Huntingford leaves legacy of community service

Chris McDaniel and Lily Haight
Posted 12/18/18

The man killed Dec. 17 in a single-vehicle collision with a tree on South Discovery Road has been identified by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office as Dan Huntingford, 66, of Port Townsend. …

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Former SOS owner dies in crash

Dan Huntingford leaves legacy of community service

Posted

The man killed Dec. 17 in a single-vehicle collision with a tree on South Discovery Road has been identified by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office as Dan Huntingford, 66, of Port Townsend.

Huntingford died after the truck he was driving exited the roadway and smashed into a tree. No one else was involved in the collision.

Huntingford, the former owner of SOS Printing, also served as the advertising manager at The Leader from about the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, said Frank Garred, who owned the paper from 1967 to 2002.

Huntingford graduated from Chimacum High School in 1970, and from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in communications and advertising in 1975.

“Dan had graduated from Washington State and was looking to go to Los Angeles to find a job in advertising,” Garred said.  “We were playing tennis out at Chimacum, and I said, ‘Hey, if something doesn’t work out, give me a call.’ A month or so later, he called. We hired him as our first real advertising manager and sales rep.”

During his time at The Leader, Huntingford helped the staff grow the newspaper, Garred said.

“Dan was kind of a silent guy, but he took The Leader into a whole new era with advertising. Our growth was really a testimony to his work. The paper went from 16 to 20 pages up to a steady 40-plus. He had the personality that matched with the local shop owners. At the time he was with us, the shops were locally owned and locally tuned in to the needs of the people here. They weren’t tourist shops.”

Garred has “a ton” of fond memories regarding Huntingford, he said.

“Dan was a very generous person, a very humorous person, and he and I got into a little bit of a tiff once when his dad asked if I would be his campaign manager for county commissioner. I said no because I was endorsing his opponent. Dan smiled and accepted that.”

Other memories include flying with Huntingford all over the state.

“Dan took up flying and got a plane, and there were several visits that he and I made to the San Juan Islands with potential advertisers which were local people,” Garred said. “We went up there for lunch.”

The two also ran together in the annual Rhody Run for about 30 years, Garred said.

Huntingford had been receiving treatment for Stage 3 esophageal cancer. He announced his departure from SOS printing in early November.

The business recently was sold to Mike Kenna, owner of Printery Communications, who confirmed it was his former competitor who was killed.

"Our hearts are heavy after hearing of the loss of Dan," Kenna said. "He was as kind and generous as a friend could be in our community. We want Louise and their entire family know how much he was loved by all who knew him.”

Huntingord’s death came as a shock to Garred, who learned of the incident Dec. 18.

“His illness was tragedy enough,” Garred said. “It is a tragedy for his family.”

In a story published the The Leader Dec. 12, Huntingford discussed the sale of his business to Kenna.

“When I became ill and realized it was not possible to keep SOS going, I reached out to Mike,” Huntingford said at the time. “Being in such a small town, Mike was in a unique position to be interested in purchasing some of the larger equipment and the customer list.”

Huntingford’s family could not be be reached for comment before press time.

Huntingford leaves behind a legacy of service for customers and the organizations and nonprofits he supported throughout the years.  

Huntingford’s father, George Huntingford Sr., was one of the longest-running county commissioners, while his cousin, Glen, also was a county commissioner.

Throughout the years, Dan Huntingford spent an immense amount of time working to support local projects, printing free fliers for nonprofts such as the Port Townsend Main Street Program, the Port Townsend Merchants Association, Port Townsend High School sports teams and education programs.

Beyond supporting the community, Huntingford also worked to provide a great place to work for his employees.

“I wanted to make sure that my customers were taken care of when I had to say goodbye,” Huntingford said. “I needed to guarantee they got the jobs done that they needed, and that their history and files were preserved. I was also concerned for my employees, who are all long-term and very loyal.”

The collision happened just before 12:19 p.m. Dec. 17 on South Discovery Road near Olympic Boulevard, just south of the intersection with Cape George Road, said Bill Beezley, East Jefferson Fire Rescue public information officer.

East Jefferson Fire Rescue personnel and law enforcement arrived to find an unconscious man trapped in a gray Toyota T100 with its front end wrapped around a tree. The man did not have a pulse, Beezley said.

He was extricated at 12:41 p.m., and firefighters immediately began CPR, which was unsuccessful, Beezley said.

“Once we got him out of the vehicle, he was pulseless, so we performed CPR for a while but then called it in the back of the (ambulance),” he said. “If there is any chance of bringing somebody back, we are going to do CPR as long as we need to. They did it for a while, but the medics on scene weren’t getting the right indicators” to continue.

Units from Naval Magazine Indian Island, Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue and Quilcene Fire Rescue assisted with the incident.

The cause is under investigation.

“We don’t know what the cause was,” Beezley said. “There might have been a precipitating medical event that caused the accident. You just don’t know. The person had some trauma from the accident, so we don’t know if that was the cause of it.”

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