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Sunday, May 19, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Fred Dore, 70, State Lawmaker, Judge With Open Door, Big Heart

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Fred Dore's motto as a state legislator and later as a state Supreme Court justice was: "Access for all."

The feisty Seattle native, who worked long hours despite health problems and frequent controversy, championed the underdog. He also kept a listed phone number and an open door during all of his 40 years of public service.

As a state legislator, Mr. Dore sponsored bills to underwrite the education of special-needs students, create the state's first crib-death legislation, and establish community colleges.

As a Supreme Court justice, he wrote a decision leading to the first anti-smoking laws. As an attorney, he won a suit for property-tax rollbacks. He also set up ways for new lawyers to offer low-fee help to the working poor.

"I think we just lost an institution," said his wife, Mary Dore of Bellevue. "There was nothing in Fred's agenda that wasn't attainable. His mother told him he could be president."

Mr. Dore, 70, died Thursday, May 16, of blood and lung problems.

Politics and the law were his birthright. His father, Fred Dore, himself a lawyer's son, was a Seattle judge. His uncle John Dore was a Seattle mayor in the 1930s.

Yet life was not easy. When Mr. Dore was 4, he contracted polio, and when he was 6, he lost his father.

A 1943 graduate of O'Dea High School, he enrolled at Seattle University. But tight finances sent him to Washington, D.C., for a promised job as a senator's aide.

It never materialized, forcing Mr. Dore to take odd jobs to get through college. He earned an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1946 and a law degree from Georgetown in 1949.

He practiced law in Seattle for a few years, then was elected to the state House of Representatives, where he served from 1953 to 1959. He served in the state Senate from 1959 to 1973 and sat on the state Court of Appeals from 1977 to 1980.

Mr. Dore was elected a state Supreme Court justice in 1980 and served on the court from 1981 to 1993, the last two years as chief justice.

In his spare time, Mr. Dore read law cases and attended his children's sporting events.

"He used to love golf," said his wife, "but he was terrible at it."

Colleague Betsy Staal said Mr. Dore always fought a good fight, followed through on commitments, and acknowledged behind-the-scenes workers on his staff.

His son Tim Dore of Seattle, agreed: "He was loyal. He still had his friends from grade school."

Other survivors include his daughters, Margaret Dore and Jane Kuper, both of Seattle, and Teresa Busch, Bellevue; son Fred Dore Jr., Silverdale; sister, Marian Pearman, Mercer Island; brother, James Dore, Seattle; and five grandchildren.

Another daughter, Christine Dore, died in 1961 of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Mass for Mr. Dore will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Sacred Heart Church, 9460 N. E. 14th St., Bellevue. Remembrances may go to the Seattle University Student Scholarship Fund, 900 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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