A bouquet of pastel pink and purple roses and peonies.

Couple Killed in Light-Rail Accident Remembered as Kind Community Members

by Elizabeth Turnbull

Emoke Rock, 76, and Steven “Skip” Wayne, 66, both involved community members, died July 2 after being struck by a Sound Transit light-rail train near the Columbia City Station.

The couple were crossing the street at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr Way South and South Alaska Street in the Columbia City neighborhood in South Seattle at roughly 6 p.m. They were hit by the train while walking during a “Don’t Walk” signal, according to a Seattle Police Department (SPD) statement. Detectives from the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad are investigating the incident. 

Both Rock and Wayne were recently retired real estate agents — Rock at the Edmonds Windermere office and Wayne at the Seattle-Mount Baker Windermere location. They were known for being community-minded, cheerful, and for their love for each other by many who knew them.

“Whenever I think of them, I see them smiling,” said Jayne DeHaan, a real estate agent at RE/MAX Metro Realty, who knew Wayne through the profession. “They had such a good time together. They really enjoyed each other; they enjoyed life.”

Wayne and Rock took their work and community involvement seriously. Rock, who graduated from Shoreline High School in 1963, was the president of the Shoreline Rotary from 2007 to 2008 and had also previously worked as a teacher, according to Shoreline Area News.

She was the first person that Greg Hoff, the owner of the Edmonds Windermere office, hired when the office opened in 1994. Through the years, Hoff watched as Rock helped others in the office and actively participated in community events and volunteer activities such as the Fourth of July parade and food drives.

“She was just a wonderful soul. She was just a beautiful person inside and out,” Hoff told the Emerald. “The more I knew about both of them, they were a great couple together. I was always happy that they’d found each other.”

Wayne graduated from the University of Washington and went on to a long career working as a realtor. In 2003, Wayne served as the president of the Seattle King County REALTORS, a nonprofit trade association. He held Distinguished Life Member status in the group since 2011, according to the organization

Wayne was also well-known for his community involvement in South Seattle, according to friends. For the past five years, he volunteered at the Rainier Valley Food Bank. During the pandemic, he delivered food to families.

Before the accident, Wayne and Rock had recently returned from a trip around the U.S. The couple had met later in life and were spending their recent retirements travelling together. 

“[They] were enjoying being together and enjoying retirement,” Joe Easterday, the owner of the Seattle-Mount Baker Windermere office, told the Emerald. “They both enjoyed life, they did.”

Elizabeth Turnbull is a journalist with reporting experience in the U.S. and the Middle East. She has a passion for covering human-centric issues and doing so consistently.

📸 Featured image attributed to Jez Timms (under an Unsplash license).

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