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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

August 15, 2014 at 6:18 PM

At 79, noted scientist still rows to work and for play

Gabi_0801_RowingShell01

Sketched Aug. 4, 2014

When the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center relocated from First Hill to South Lake Union in the late 1990s, Dr. Rainer Storb, one of its most prominent scientists, started to commute to work by rowing. Now 79 years old, he still does.

A little after 6 in the morning, Storb leaves his Madison Park condo on Lake Washington and rows his way through the Montlake Cut and Portage Bay until he reaches an old wooden cabin near E.East Garfield Street where he stores his boat.

The day I caught up with him, the German-born scientist filled me with facts about rowing boats and the races he competes in around Puget Sound. He’s looking forward to the Great Cross Sound Race
race between Alki and Bainbridge Island next weekend. He also shared how he came to Seattle in 1965 with a Fulbright scholarship and went on to be part of the team that founded Fred Hutch.

Though I wouldn’t trade my bus commute for anything that could involve a plunge into the water, Storb’s life story resonated with me. It was inspiring to meet a fellow foreign-born Seattleite who has embraced this city so fully.

Gabi_0801_RowingShell02

Comments | More in Boats, Portraits, Recreation, Sports, Transportation, Waterscapes | Topics: South Lake Union

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