Julian Arthur passed away quietly at home on Sept. 20, 2020, surrounded by his family. The cause of death was cancer.
Julian is survived by his wife, Sue Arthur; daughters Kristi Arthur and Jaime Jaynes (husband Simon Jaynes and children Ivan Clemens and Syd Luck); siblings Bernard, Kathy, Joyce and Randall Arthur and their families.
Julian was raised in Arbor Heights just outside of West Seattle. As a kid, he had a plywood go-cart made of 2x6’s with wheels on them. In 1956, he won his heat in Seattle’s Soap Box Derby and was hooked on racing for the rest of his life. Eventually, his friend Sid bought a go-cart with a motorcycle engine on it. Julian and his friend John also wanted an engine so they bought a motorcycle to modify their cart. Julian remembers saying, “Let’s ride the motorcycle before you tear it apart, John.” After that thrilling experience, they sold their go-carts and never looked back.
Julian’s first motorcycle was a Ducati 250. He raced motorcycles for six years starting in 1960 He lived in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles but spent the majority of his time on the road traveling from race to race. His racing career was put on hold in 1966 when he was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War.
Julian entered the Army early in 1967 and was stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado. He spent his weekends traveling to watch any race he could. Eventually, the Army decided to send him to Korea. It’s still a bit of a mystery why Julian was sent to Korea instead of Vietnam during that time, but he would like to think it was because of a man he once befriended in a bar who also loved racing and had the authority to make those decisions.
After one year, 10 months, and two days in the Army, Julian got his “Santa Claus” leave on Dec. 15, 1968. He flew home to Seattle and started working for his family’s business, Skookum Marine; Port Townsend’s first boatbuilding company at the Boat Haven.
Julian considered returning to motorcycle racing but the league started requiring brakes on the motorcycles. Julian thought, “There ain’t no way I’m going to race motorcycles with brakes.” So he stayed in Port Townsend and honed his skills as a fiberglass boat builder. By the end of 1969, he was living and working full time in Port Townsend.
In 1975, Julian met his beloved wife Sue. What was supposed to be just “fun for the summer” turned into a 45-year relationship. Julian loved Sue more than anything on this earth. Full of surprises and humor, they continually reinvented themselves for each other until Julian’s last breath. Last May, Sue and Julian celebrated 43 years of marriage.
In 1990, Julian discontinued his career as a boat builder and focused solely on his crane business, Julian Arthur Equipment Company “where business is booming.” What Julian loved most about his crane business was the role he played in helping other people achieve their dreams. Whether that was building a new home or replacing a mast, he sincerely loved helping people (even if he cussed through the entire process. We all know he doesn’t bite). In 2015, Julian received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Spirit & Culture from the Wooden Boat Foundation. Anyone who has worked with Julian will agree he is very spirited.
Julian loved to travel. He often said his happy place was sitting on an airplane going anywhere. He made it to six of the seven continents. Sometimes you just don’t make it to all the buckets on your list. We sure wish we could get a postcard from him now.
We will miss you Julian. You may have reached the checkered flag in this life, we hope that you are racing onward.
“Murphy was an optimist”
Memorial services have not been scheduled due to the circumstances we are living with today. Once the community can gather safely again, we will plan a celebration of life in Port Townsend.