Russel B. Sabin

Sabin, Russell B.

(1922 – 2015)

Russell Bertrum Sabin was born in Oakland, California on October 6, 1922. He grew up in Eugene, Oregon graduating from Eugene High School in 1941. Upon graduation, Sabin was drafted during WWII and served in the Navy. Upon his return to the States, he took advantage of the GI Bill and enrolled in the University of Oregon, graduating with a degree in architecture in 1950. While there he became good friends with his future business partner, Ibsen Nelsen. After college Sabin went to work for the architectural firm of Randall & Yinger in Pomona, California where he served their as chief designer.

In 1953 Nelsen asked Sabin to join him in establishing their own firm. Together, the firm of Nelsen & Sabin (1954-60) and later Nelsen, Sabin & Varey (1961-1967), created a variety of award-winning designs for clients across the Pacific Northwest. The firm focused mainly on residential projects which can be found scattered throughout Seattle. Among their more notable projects were the Benjamin Weeks House (1961) which received an AIA Honor Award and Lincoln Steel Foundation Award; the Herman Wicks House (1958), a Seattle Times Home-of-the-Month; and a home for artist Morris Graves in Lolita, California (1967). Other projects include an office building for the A.G.C (1955); the Prudential Insurance Co. Office (1956); and the Boy Scouts of America Headquarters Building (1959) in Seattle.

A longtime member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Sabin designed and/or oversaw the construction of several LDS churches including the Alderwood Manor Ward (1960) in Mountlake Terrace, a Seattle AIA Honor Award winner; the Seventh Ward (1961) in Bellevue (demolished); and the Renton-Seattle Fourth Ward (1966) at 8220 S. 126th St. in Seattle.

In 1970 Sabin was asked to move to Hawaii to oversee the construction of a new sanctuary for the LDS Church. He remained there until 1998 when he officially retired. After a short 5-year stint in Olney, Texas, he moved to New Mexico. Upon retirement, Sabin became an accomplished artist, displaying his works in several galleries throughout the southwest.

Sabin passed away on September 16, 2015 in Carlsbad, California.

– Michael C Houser

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