Memorial service set for Biery, state and regional political strategist

Nancy Biery

Nancy Biery

PORT ANGELES — A memorial service has been set for Nancy Biery, a strategist and consultant whose influence was felt in political circles across the region, state and nation.

Biery died March 23 at the age of 63.

The former Sequim resident, who held a number of state-level positions and backed more than two-dozen successful political campaigns in Washington state and Hawaii, died of cancer in her North Olympic Peninsula home, about two years after being diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma.

A memorial service is set for 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 10, in Port Gamble, with former Washington State Governor Gary Locke delivering the eulogy.

Her husband Bill said Nancy had an uncanny skill to see the potential in people, a trait that made her an exceptional fit to run political campaigns, environmental boards and community efforts.

“She was a natural unifier; she was the absolute best fit that I’ve ever seen,” Bill Biery said. “Her real talent was identifying capable, electable candidates — especially those candidates that held environmental issues in their interests and capabilities. She was really a true champion for her candidate and causes.”

Nancy and Bill Biery met when he went to work for Nancy’s father, Jerry Joswick, in Illinois. Bill cleaned out horse stalls while attending community college. Nancy graduated high school in three years at age 16 and went on to graduate from University of California — Irvine.

“We be-came quite close,” Bill said, and the couple married in 1972.

The pair worked together with Bill’s environmental engineering firm.

“We are always interested in conservation and ecology,” Bill Biery said.

At the time in their area of San Diego County, there was only one other company tackling environmental issues in a similar fashion, he said, as the business looked to prevent problems or educate other businesses regarding issues such as pollution. Within a few years, that number jumped to about 80 companies, Bill Biery said.

The Bierys eventually sold the business and moved to Hawaii, where they continued to work in the environmental field.

Nancy, who got involved with the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii while living on Maui, began her political career there, backing a successful political race for Linda Lingle, who went on to become governor of Hawaii.

The Bierys moved back to Washington state in 1992.

“We wanted to move on to the ‘big pond;’ we’d done a fair amount of things in a little pond,” Bill Biery said. “She transferred those (political) skills when we relocated to Washington.”

Their work took the Bierys from Sequim to Bainbridge Island to Port Townsend and Quilcene and finally to a spot between Sequim and Port Angeles.

Her political prowess led Nancy Biery to take positions as a member of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the state’s Executive Ethics Board and the Higher Education Coordinating. She served as the Democratic Party Chair for Jefferson County and prior to that was the Vice-Chair of the 23rd Legislative District Democrats.

Bill Biery said Nancy’s influence in Jefferson County politics was significant, helping to unify the Democratic Party’s fundraising and general membership sides, and increasing membership greatly.

“She has a totally different skill set than someone with a biology background,” Bill Biery said, “but they had this common interest. It was, ‘How do we get these forces together?’”

Nancy also worked as Field Director for the Washington State Democrats and the Coordinated Campaign where she managed campaign staff and volunteers in targeted legislative and congressional districts.

“It’s amazing how many people feel so strongly their relationship with Nancy was a turning point in their lives,” Bill Biery said. “She could build people up and fill them with the same dream that she had given the confidence they needed to move forward in positive way.”

In 2008, Nancy was recruited by Gov. Locke, former Governor and then U.S. Secretary of Commerce, to serve as special advisor in Washington D.C. She also served as State Outreach Director and acting State Director for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.

“She was a superb champion of all her candidates and her causes,” Bill Biery said of his wife. “She (pushed) them hard to do the right thing. She was skilled at that, and good at that — that will be her legacy.”

________

Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at editor@sequimgazette.com.

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