Mourning Her Loss, Remembering Her Legacy

By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Those who were privileged to know Pamela Waechter, of blessed memory, remember her as an incandescent presence who brightened every room she entered, enlivened every conversation with her boundless warmth, and made every person she encountered feel welcome, because in her heart she knew that everyone in the community mattered.

Fifteen years have passed since that terrible Friday afternoon, July 28, 2006, when an act of hateful violence stole Pam from our world, grievously wounded five of her Federation colleagues—Layla Bush, Carol Goldman z”l, Dayna Klein, Christina Rexroad, and Cheryl Stumbo—and left a deep scar on our community. During that passage of time, much about Jewish Puget Sound has changed, yet the imprint that Pam made on Jewish life remains … an indelible legacy of her loving service as a volunteer and communal professional.

Pam’s legacy is the gold standard that inspires what we do today and will do tomorrow for making Jewish Puget Sound a welcoming and dynamic center of Jewish life. In that work, she led by example … graciously giving her time and encouragement to every person bringing all manner of ideas to her attention. Pam’s deeply rooted empathy and commitment to Judaism created ripple effects that continue to this day in building and strengthening community. 

Her memory is a spark for Federation’s advocacy—the ongoing work of repairing our world and pursuing justice, the urgency to curb gun violence and save innocent lives, our determination to counter rising antisemitism, the root cause of the hate crime that cost Pam her life. 

Among the Jewish values that underpin our advocacy is lo ta’amod al dam rey’echa, to not stand idly by. Pam embodied that value year after year through the quality of her leadership, her dedication to Judaism, and the energy with which she translated her dedication into positive, lasting impact.

Every July 28 is a day we mourn the loss, incalculable in its consequences, of an uplifting leader, inspiring mentor, and a warm friend. Let us also honor Pam’s memory by carrying on with her work of weaving, together, the bonds of a strong and vibrant community.