Capitol Hill is mourning the loss of former resident and community leader John Berdes, who died in Seattle on Sunday, June 12, after a battle with lung cancer. He was 58.
Berdes was a former community coordinator for the Capitol Hill Community Council — serving as president in 1979 — and executive director of Capitol Hill Housing from 1978-1987, current CHH director Chris Persons crediting him in a Friday message for leading “the transformation of the organization from its origins of primarily supporting low-income homeowners in Capitol Hill to providing high quality affordable apartment housing throughout Seattle.”
“Last but not least, John was a character,” Persons writes. “As hard as he could be in a business deal, he also was funny and a true personality. He will be deeply missed.”
Berdes was involved in CHH’s first building purchase, the Broadway Apartments, his later successes in championing affordable housing leading to invitations from other Seattle neighborhoods to help, according to Persons.
Berdes would go on to become founder and CEO of Craft3, described by the Daily Astorian as “an unconventional lending institution,” Berdes being credited for contributing to the revitalization of the Oregon town over the past two decades.
Capitol Hill Housing is encouraging those who knew Berdes to share their memories on its or Craft3’s Facebook page.