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Originally published Friday, July 20, 2012 at 8:34 PM

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Alvin Ulbrickson Jr., Olympic rower and UW administrator, dies at 81

Former University of Washington administrator and Olympic athlete Alvin Ulbrickson Jr. died July 6. He was 81.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Alvin Ulbrickson Jr., a longtime University of Washington administrator and rower who won a bronze medal in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, died July 6 from lung cancer. He was 81.

The son of legendary Huskies rowing coach Alvin Ulbrickson Sr., Mr. Ulbrickson followed in his father's footsteps, competed at the UW and graduated in 1952 with a degree in physical education.

After two years in the Army, Mr. Ulbrickson returned to the university to serve as the assistant dean of men and later as vice president of student affairs.

Rinda Ulbrickson described her father as a caring figure who had a natural curiosity about the people he met.

She said he would always take the time to talk to students, as well as friends, and offer words of encouragement.

"He was one of those guys who, as you talked to him, you just felt better," said his son, Alvin Ulbrickson III. "He could meet people, and they knew that he took a genuine interest in what they were saying."

After retiring from the university, Mr. Ulbrickson served as the executive director of the South Snohomish County Chamber of Commerce and moved to Orcas Island.

He remained a supporter of the UW and its rowing teams long after leaving the university. His son said Mr. Ulbrickson would call him for real-time updates as the Huskies rowers raced in national competitions.

Both Mr. Ulbrickson and his father were inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame.

"That family was very formative and very pivotal in shaping not only the athletic department and the rowing program but the university in general,"said Bob Ernst, the director of rowing at the UW.

Despite his storied athletic and professional career, daughter Rinda said her father was a humble man who kept to himself.

He was honored when the Green Lake Crew recently dedicated a rowing shell to him for his support of the Junior Crew rowing program, she said.

The same day, she said, Mr. Ulbrickson found out his granddaughter had chosen to attend the UW in the fall.

"He was really happy and very pleased," she said.

Mr. Ulbrickson is survived by his wife, Monica, who moved from Orcas Island to Lake Tapps; daughter Rinda, of Seattle; son Alvin III, of Kirkland, and three grandchildren.

Janvier Panzar: 206-464-2253 or jpanzar@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @jpanzar.

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