Harold Vickrey died on April 3rd, from the effects of Alzehimer’s disease.
Born on March 8, 1930 to Russell Vickrey and Sarah (Pinkerton) Vickrey, Harold was the 4th generation of his mother’s family to call Kent home. He told his family to the end, he never wanted to live anywhere else but his hometown.
As a teenager, Harold worked in the crop fields of the Kent Valley, delivered newspapers on Scenic Hill, worked as an usher at the Vale Theater, helped Elmer Merryman and Bobby Dowling log old-growth stumps on Kent’s East Hill, and briefly worked on the ferry Kalakala during the war. After his mother died in 1942, Harold quit school to work full-time for Safeway. Once his boss learned Harold had quit, he told him he had to go back to school, but could keep his job at the store. By the age of 19, Harold was Kent Safeway’s Assistant Manager. Soon after this time, he also began driving a school bus for the Kent School District.
In November of 1954, Harold opened Kent’s first drive-in restaurant, “Harold’s Royal Freeze,” on Smith Street in Kent, with subsequent locations known as “Harold’s Drive-In.” On the first day of business, it snowed, and the drive-in took in less than $3. The drive-in’s first “cash register” was a muffin tin. Harold always produced a quality product, including the “Royal Burger,” hand cutting his own French Fries daily, using fresh ingredients, and was one of the first in the Seattle area to sell halibut fish and chips, filleting the whole fish himself into a finished product. Four generations of Harold’s family worked at the business, including his wife’s mother – Claudine Moore – who worked into her 80’s. Harold employed generations of Kent teenagers, supported local sports teams, and created a gathering place for the community.
On March 11, 1950, Harold married Murial Moore. Harold and Murial were both hard workers, but managed to find time for gardening, fishing, and traveling, especially in later years.
In 1992, Harold retired from the drive-in business, and once again worked for the Kent School District, eventually as Head Custodian at Kentridge High School, retiring in 2016, shortly before his 86th birthday, and his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
Harold volunteered in his community, and on two different occasions, the city named a day in his honor. He was in the last graduating class of Kent High School (1948), prior to the school merging with Meridian High. Harold was spoiled by friends, customers, and the Kent community in general. The staff at Kentridge were especially good to him during his tenure there. People treated Harold as a local celebrity, and even though he feigned humility, he really loved every minute of it! He was blessed to be loved by so many in his community. Dad was a good, decent, honest person; always optimistic, with a friendly smile. As so many people witnessed over the years, he had an incredible work ethic. He is so missed.
Harold is survived by his wife of 69 years, Murial; children, Tom Vickrey, Hood Canal, Terry Vickrey (Tazia), Salt Lake City, Utah, and Jamie Vickrey (Svetalana), Kent, as well as his brother, Russell Vickrey (June) of Mercer Island, and his sister, Carolyn (Lee) Green, of Roy. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. If anyone wishes to make a donation in Harold’s name, please do so to the Kent Historical Society, or the scholarship fund for the Kent School District.