A prominent Kennewick attorney and former Benton County deputy prosecutor died Monday morning in a vehicle collision on Snoqualmie Pass.
Raymond R. Whitlow, 65, died after his Porsche Boxster veered from its lane and collided with a Kia Sportage around 8 a.m, Washington State Patrol Sgt. Kiley Conaway said.
Whitlow was pronounced dead at the scene and the other driver, Tommie Murray, 30, also of Kennewick, was not injured, Conaway said. Both drivers were wearing their seat belts and alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
Whitlow was a senior partner at the law firm of Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary in Kennewick, where he specialized in workers' compensation, veterans’ rights and labor law. He had worked at the firm since 1986 after working as a deputy prosecutor for Benton County from 1978-83.
Bill Hames, founder of the firm, said Whitlow was a dedicated lawyer who will be sorely missed throughout the Tri-City community.
“He was one of those exceptional human beings,” he said. “He is the most disciplined person I have ever met. He was just an exceptional person. Extremely generous.”
Friends of Whitlow said he was a proud supporter of his alma mater Washington State University, where he wrestled, and Tri-Cities Prep, where he volunteered as the current athletic director.
Principal Arlene Jones at Tri-Cities Prep said Whitlow dedicated a lot of his time to helping student-athletes and funded some of the sports department’s activities with his own money.
“It’s a small community and the man was incredibly loved and admired,” Jones said. “He put the needs of the community ahead of himself.”
Those who knew Whitlow said the dedicated husband never sought recognition for his many good deeds, like helping to fund two scholarships at WSU or volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America.
“Ray shunned publicity,” Hames said. “He was the worker bee. He would make sure everything was in place.”
Whitlow helped secure a conviction in the Jerry Lain assault trial in 1982 while working with the prosecutor’s office. Lain stabbed Richland Police Officer Mike Fitzpatrick seven times and shot him in the face and abdomen. Fitzpatrick survived and Lain was sentenced to life in prison.
Benton-Franklin Superior Court Judge Craig Matheson worked with Whitlow at the prosecutors office and Energy Northwest when it was known as the Washington Public Power Supply System. The two played softball together. Whitlow was one of the most reliable people Matheson ever met either in the courtroom or outside of it, he said.
Whitlow’s dedication to his work and the community allowed him to build lifelong relationships with a wide variety of people in the Tri-City area, Matheson said.
“He was just a good friend to be around,” he said. “It’s a real loss for his family. I am almost speechless. It’s so sudden and surprising. He will be missed.”
Reporter Ty Beaver contributed to this report.
Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Ty_richardson