It was 1998 when then-Herald Publisher Larry Hanson tapped Wolcott to be editor of the new publication. Launched as The Herald Business Journal, its current name, the magazine was also called the Snohomish County Business Journal for a time.
“That was the highlight of his career. He loved that, being in the community,” said Roberta Wolcott, whose husband died on their 54th wedding anniversary. He was 77. In 2006, he was diagnosed with an aggressive type of prostate cancer.
Wolcott is also survived by his son, Jim Wolcott, daughter Teresa Kearney and four grandchildren. The Wolcotts moved to Arlington in 2000, after 32 years in Marysville. For 50 years, they have been members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marysville.
“John retired in 2010. We joked at his retirement party that he was 24 years at The Herald — in two 12-year stints,” Roberta Wolcott said.
A Michigan native, Wolcott came to Everett with the U.S. Air Force. He had earned a journalism degree from Michigan State University before being stationed, in 1962, at Paine Air Force Base as a public information officer.
“I remember him in the early ’60s in his sharp Air Force uniform,” Hanson said. “He would bring us press releases and talk with the editors and reporters.”
Roberta Wolcott met her future husband when she worked for the Marysville Globe, which printed an Air Force base publication called The Dagger. They were married Aug. 31, 1963.
After being discharged from the military in 1965, they moved to California. Wolcott worked for The Mercury News in San Jose. They returned to Marysville in 1968.
It wasn’t long before “we hired him to be on the business staff,” said Hanson, who retired as Herald publisher in 2001. “He already had a lot of relationships in the community, and did very well.”
Roberta Wolcott said her husband was The Herald’s business editor from 1970 to 1980. He then worked for the Snohomish County PUD until 1988.
The couple ran a freelance business, Features Northwest. “We enjoyed those freelance years,” said Roberta Wolcott, also a writer and photographer. They focused on travel and business articles. And among John Wolcott’s many clients were The Catholic Northwest Progress newspaper and Northwest Catholic, now the Archdiocese of Seattle’s official publication.
Wolcott lived his Catholic faith through his church and one of its ministries, Pregnancy Aid of Snohomish County. The agency has evolved to become Two Hearts Ultrasound Clinic at Pregnancy Aid of Snohomish County.
Angel Metcalf is executive director of the agency that also offers baby supplies and other help to new and expectant mothers. Wolcott and his wife were founders of Pregnancy Aid, along with the late Stephen Good Sr. They have served on its board for years.
“John was one of my champions in starting the ultrasound clinic,” Metcalf said. The agency is dedicating its first Two Hearts Auction to Wolcott. It’s scheduled for 5 p.m. Nov. 4 in Mattie Hall at Everett’s Immaculate Conception Church.
“His memory will live forever in our hearts,” Metcalf said. “He always had a smile, and a hand in the air waving at you.”
Roberta Wolcott said her husband’s family background contributed to his commitment to Pregnancy Aid. He was adopted at about 15 months old, and raised as an only child in Michigan. “His birth mother was single and young,” she said.
His birth mother and father had both died by the time he had tracked down their families, Roberta Wolcott said. He discovered he had several brothers and a sister.
Roberta Wolcott said her husband believed his mother might have kept him, if she’d had the sort of help Pregnancy Aid offers.
Marci Dehm, a longtime freelance writer for The Herald Business Journal, said Wolcott was a great mentor. He taught her to do layout after the journal’s staff was reduced.
“He practically put that whole paper together himself,” said Dehm, of Marysville. She recalled Wolcott munching carrot sticks at his desk — “he didn’t go to lunch” — and said he was often humming. “He was always cheerful,” Dehm said.
Wolcott kept up his freelance writing until recently. The city of Arlington was among his clients.
“He was a very skilled writer,” said Heather Logan, Arlington’s director of administrative services. “We deeply appreciated his good research and fact-checking skills. He was just a joy to work with.”
Providence Regional Cancer Partnership featured Wolcott in one of a series of survivor stories. It noted that he wrote about his illness in the business journal “in the hopes that sharing his story with others will raise awareness about the importance of early cancer detection.”
“These last 11 years, he always counted them as a blessing,” Roberta Wolcott said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.