Blake Nordstrom

Friends, family and coworkers will gather Saturday to remember Blake Nordstrom, co-president of Nordstrom, who died unexpectedly last week at the age of 58.

The company said a public celebration would be held at the Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle at 2 p.m.

The Nordstrom family directed people wanting to make donations in his memory toward University of Washington Rowing or United Way of King County, reflecting two of his personal passions.

While Nordstrom is most remembered in retail circles as a leader of Nordstrom Inc. along with his two brothers, co-presidents Erik and Pete, he had deep roots in the Seattle area.

Born in the city, Nordstrom grew up on nearby Mercer Island and attended Mercer Island High School and the University of Washington. In college, Nordstrom rowed on the Husky Crew team, like his father, Bruce, and his grandfather.

Nordstrom also served on the board of the Downtown Seattle Association and, along with his wife, Molly, chaired gift campaigns for the United Way.

An obituary prepared by the company noted, “When he wasn’t working, fundraising, or cheering on the Huskies, Blake loved spending time with Molly and his children, Andy and Alex, especially out on the water.”

Nordstrom joined the retailer founded by his great-grandfather, John W. Nordstrom, in the early Seventies and moved from sweeping floors in the stockroom to selling in the downtown Seattle store and ultimately to the executive suite.

From 2000 to 2015 he served as president and then started sharing the role with his brothers.

The obituary noted that although “serving as co-president with his brothers Pete and Erik was an unconventional corporate structure, it worked well. They divided responsibilities, made big decisions together and pushed the company to adapt and compete in the age of e-commerce.”

Pete and Erik said in a note to employees: “Blake was the best big brother, friend and mentor anyone could ever ask for. One of the things that brings us some comfort is that Blake’s values, character and passion can still be reflected in what this company does — how we treat each other, our customers and our communities. Building on that is the best way we can think of to honor his legacy.”