Nicholas John Brossoit, age 64, died peacefully at Whatcom Hospice House on Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023. Diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in August of 2020, Nick outlived his original prognosis crediting a strong faith in God and his medical team. Nick was a man who knew what he wanted in life and always strived to live it to the fullest. He refused to surrender to cancer rather only to Jesus. For the past 2.5 years, while undergoing harsh treatments, Nick continued to be a pillar of strength to his family and friends. He wrote a book (Love the People in Line); listened and consulted with educational leaders; gave multiple interviews; water-skied, snow-skied, hiked, vacationed, watched his sons’ ball games and held his baby grandson.
Nick was born on December 4, 1958, in Ephrata, WA, the youngest of six children to Arthur and Catherine Brossoit. He had a rocky childhood and at age 11 asked Jesus to be his father and savior. He put his faith in God and in many coaches and teachers as he was growing up. Nick was determined and strong-willed at a young age shouldering adult burdens and responsibilities with no support. He invested his time in playing sports and excelled at them. He was an avid snow ski racer, loved baseball and was a star football player. Many people in the town of Ephrata helped him succeed, and he was forever grateful.
Following Nick’s graduation from high school, he attended WSU on a full football scholarship. After playing there for one year he realized it wasn’t the place for him. He took some time off and painted airplanes at Boeing and fished in Alaska. He returned to college and played football at Pacific Lutheran University, where he graduated in 1983, and later received his Master’s degree and Principal’s Credentials. Nick obtained his Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Superintendent’s Credentials from Seattle University in 1992, being one of the youngest graduates in his program.
Nick worked as a teacher and coach at Peninsula High School, and then as an assistant principal at Burlington-Edison High School; he made the shift to district office administration while in the Burlington-Edison School District. After obtaining his doctorate, Nick became the superintendent of the Tumwater School District and served in this position for ten years. In 2004, he was hired by the Edmonds School District and was their superintendent until retiring in 2016, after 32 years in public education.
Nick was a gifted public speaker, who always had the best interest of students at heart. He served as the president of an organization that successfully sued the state of Washington to increase public school funding. The times Nick cherished the most in education was when he felt he made a difference in someone’s life. He always seemed to be able to pull out some analogy or anecdote to help illustrate his support. Nick enjoyed racing cars, and in his retirement, he painted houses, coached his stepsons’ sports teams and water- and snow-skied. His favorite place, besides his home that he loved, was on the beach of Cabo San Lucas, where he listened to the ocean waves, pondered life and death, and put his full faith in God.
Nick is survived by his wife, Jennifer Vachon, his children Alisa Brossoit-Baker (Jon), Kyle Brossoit, Kael Stapleton and Jack Stapleton, his ex-wife Joyce Mackiewicz, his granddaughter Alexis Baker, his grandson Caspian Baker, his siblings Jan Copeland, Doug Brossoit, Renee Grant and John Brossoit, his mother-in-law Lonna Baugher, his brothers-in-law Marc Vachon (Jennifer) and Tony Baugher (Cindy), several nieces and nephews, and many dear friends. Nick was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Scott and Sam Brossoit.
A celebration of Nick’s life will be held on Saturday, April 15th at 1:00 pm at North County Christ the King church in Lynden, WA. It will be live-streamed at www.ncctk.com. Memorials can be made to Whatcom Hospice House, St. Jude’s, Eagles’ Nest children’s home in Guatemala, or pancreatic cancer research. We would like to thank his doctors and nurses who were absolutely amazing and kept Nick’s spirits up by their care.
Psalms 62:5-6 NLT: “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.”
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Cheers to a man who was a great leader, with a kind heart and vision that led Edmonds into greatness for many years. I hope his legacy is never forgotten. Nick, I hope you rest in peace knowing you made a difference in all the lives you touched!
I think one of his greatest accomplishments was being an initiator of the McCleary lawsuit.
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