To speak about Pam Waechter, so many people will first recount how she gave of herself deeply and unconditionally throughout her life. The many who knew her say they are the better for it, particularly in the Jewish community, which benefited from her boundless energy and shining spirit. That irrepressible energy seemed to burst out of her crystal blue eyes, and her radiant smile was genuine and boundless.
Pam loved all things Jewish and devoted her life to Jewish causes. Raised in Minneapolis as a Lutheran, Pam chose the Jewish religion when she married her husband, Bill Waechter. The couple then moved to Seattle in 1979, where she quickly became known to most in the Seattle Jewish community, from her work leading the board of Temple B’nai Torah and as the campaign director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. She was also the amazing mom of two children, and regularly referred to as “her daughter’s best friend.”
On July 28, 2006, Naveed Haq held a young teenager at gunpoint as he entered our downtown Seattle offices, ranting about Israel. After just minutes, five women were shot and Pam was dead. It was the worst hate crime in Washington State’s history, and a devastating blow to her immediate family, the Seattle community and Jewish professionals everywhere.
Rabbi James Mirel gave the eulogy before thousands who turned out for her memorial, saying Pam was a martyr for the Jewish cause. “Innocent and good people, loving people, are senselessly and tragically taken off this earth in an act of irrational hatred,” said Mirel, in a voice filled with grief and sadness. “Hers is a death that reverberates throughout the world and will continue to over many, many generations.”