NEW YORK — John J. Whitacre, a career Nordstrom executive who started as a shoe salesman and rose to become the only non-Nordstrom family member to lead the chain, died of a heart attack Monday. He was 50.

The 6-foot-5 Whitacre was an offensive tackle on the varsity football team at the University of Washington in Seattle. He remained very athletic and coached his children’s teams. However, he collapsed after rowing in the training room at the University of Washington on Monday.

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