Donors and Difference-Makers

The legacy of a loving Husky fan

Pomerinke family

A lifelong commitment to student-athletes lives on

Arnie Pomerinke always led with his heart.

“He loved helping other people. It was as though he was just breathing, it came so naturally,” describes his wife Ann Marie. His humble, generous nature made Arnie’s sudden passing from a heart attack in 2014 all the more difficult for those who loved him. His celebration of life was held at the stadium’s Club Husky.

When they met at Central Washington University in 1971, Arnie was married and Ann Marie was dating her high school sweetheart. A decade later, they both wound up single again and found their way to each other.

Arnie co-owned the bar Dante’s in the U-District and owned the Lock Spot in Ballard. Ann Marie capped a long career in charitable work as CEO of a 12-state region of the American Cancer Society. With Arnie’s son Keith, they built a life that was enriched by sports and filled with passion for UW student-athletes.

“Supporting the Huskies was not just about the games, but about the coaches who were so inspiring to student-athletes,” Ann Marie explains. “When Arnie was a boy, his coaches taught him so much. He wanted Washington coaches to develop the same character and commitment to teamwork in the students they coach.”

As Ann Marie was going through Arnie’s wallet after his death, she found a plasticized card with a quote adapted from Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore: “I slept and dreamt that life was service. I acted and beheld that service was joy.”

It was one more thing that motivated her to honor her husband’s legacy by establishing an endowed scholarship for Husky Football, seeding the endowment with a generous donation. Friends’ contributions grew the fund before Ann Marie made a second gift to fully support an in-state scholarship — wrapping the thank-you letter and presenting it to Keith for Christmas.

“The amazing thing about endowments is that they support student-athletes in perpetuity,” Ann Marie says. “I know that Arnie is looking down, saying this is incredible.

“We believe that you don’t give until it hurts, you give until it feels good. Supporting the Huskies will change your life and the lives of student-athletes.”