A press release from City of University Place.
The City of University Place lost one of its founding fathers this week when Council Member and former Mayor Ken Grassi passed away on Sept. 26.
In addition to owning and operating the popular Grassi’s Ristorante on Bridgeport Way for many years, Grassi was one of the earliest proponents of U.P.’s incorporation. He served as the Council Member representing Position #4 since the City’s inception in 1995, but that was only a fraction of his service to U.P. Over the course of the next 25 years, Grassi also served two terms each as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem in addition to serving on the City’s Finance, Communications, and Legislative and Intergovernmental committees as well as the Town Center Steering Committee.
He also volunteered his time to serve as the City’s representative to the Pierce Transit Board, the Puget Sound Regional Council and the Pierce County Regional Council, as well as the Pierce County Mayors and Executive committee.
But his true passion was in beautification projects, where he led efforts to literally plant thousands of daffodils and add hanging flower baskets to U.P.’s streetscape. “Ken Grassi was a pillar of our community. He was well known and loved for his genial manner and commitment to not just talking about making U.P. a wonderful place to live, but for working hard and literally getting his hands dirty to make it happen,” said Mayor Caroline Belleci. “His passing is a loss for our City, and for me personally. Ken was truly a wonderful human being. I will miss his smile, his gentle demeaner, and his undying passion for U.P.”
Belleci’s comments were echoed by U.P. City Council Member Stan Flemming, a longtime friend of Grassi’s. “Ken’s heart and soul was for our city. The beautification efforts we see are all directly because of him, including the daffodils and hanging baskets on Bridgeport,” Flemming said. “Ken’s passion was that he wanted the city to be a place where people really wanted to be, and this was epitomized in everything that he did. He was one of the major pillars of our community.”
In honor of Ken Grassi’s enduring commitment to public service and the people of University Place, flags at City Hall will fly at half-staff through Thursday, Sept. 30. Details on funeral services, which the family has indicated the public is welcome and encouraged to attend, are pending and will be posted at CityofUP.com when they are available.