Jay Rockey
Jay Rockey

Jay Rockey, who built The Rockey Co. into the largest PR firm in the Pacific Northwest and sold the shop to Hill and Knowlton in 2000, died Feb. 24. He was 90.

Seattle-based TRC had more than 50 staffers and offices in Portland, Spokane, Anchorage, San Francisco, DC and New York. It counted Boeing, Washington Mutual, Alyeska Pipeline, British Airways and Nintendo as clients.

Rockey was first exposed to PR during a stint in the Navy's press shop in Honolulu. Upon discharge, he became a newspaper reporter in Olympia, United Press International staffer and PR rep for Alcoa in Vancouver (WA).

He made his initial mark on PR as director of the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, which attracted luminaries such as Elvis Presley, Ed Sullivan, Nat King Cole and John Glenn. Rockey secured coverage for the fair in the New York Times, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times and a Life cover, which featured a picture of the still under construction Space Needle. The Seattle fair event was the first international expo to turn a profit.

After the World's Fair, Rockey launched Jay Rockey Public Relations, which was recast as TRC.

In 1976, Rockey was elected national president of the Public Relations Society of America.

A memorial service is slated April 21. More information is available at www.jayrockey.net.