Segale, Ann G.
(1924 – 2011)
Born into the building industry, Ann Gertrude Segale holds the distinction of being an early pioneer in the building industry. In the 1960s she founded one of the few women-owned construction companies in the State.
The youngest of four and only daughter, Ann was born on November 13, 1924 in Seattle to William R. and Anna MacPherson. Her dad was a noted real estate man. She attended Lincoln High School and at the age 22, along with her brothers she began selling real estate. A sociology major at the University of Washington, upon graduation in 1947 she did a brief stint as a social worker in New York, but quickly returned to the Pacific Northwest.
Her first building venture at age 32 was overseeing the construction of her own house in Astoria, Oregon in 1951. Her husband, Raymond G. Segale, was a teacher at Astoria High School. After Raymond became the athletic director and football coach at Blanchet High School in Seattle in 1955, she built another home for the family in Haller Lake. Enjoying the building process, Ann continued to work in the real estate business gaining valuable insight into the needs and desires of home buyers.
Reportedly Segale got into professional building when she noticed the lack of traditional Early American style homes. She later recalled that, “We bought some lots and started building homes. The first one sold before the walls were even up.”
Tragedy struck the family in 1961, when Ann’s husband, Raymond was killed in a car accident. As the sole bead-winner in the family, Ann double down on her growing building business, often instilling the help of her four teenage children as “top assistants” in her construction clean-up crew.
Segale specialized in Early American homes and often worked with architect Elizabeth Ayer, whom had a bent towards traditional design work. Known projects include a home at 727 N 193rd St (1960); a house at 662 W 178th Place (1960); a house at 20317 5th Ave NW (1960); the Robert D. Arnett House (1963, with Elizabeth Ayer); a house at 525 NW 203rd (1963); a remodel for her brother Murdock MacPherson (1964); an apartment at 808 N 43rd St (1964); a home at 17208 Greenwood Place N (1965, with Jane Hastings); the Dr. Ian Shaw House (1966, with Rolland Lamping, AIA/ST Home-of-the-Month); several homes in the Richmond Highlands (1968); and a house at 17820 8th Ave NW (1971).
Ann continued to work for the family at MacPherson Realty and was in charge of the leasing and planning of shopping centers for the company. In 1963 she was accepted as Class A member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Her commercial building work focused primarily around helping the family business build new offices. She constructed their Kirkland branch office (1964, with Ayer & Lamping); and MacPherson’s Marysville office (1978) a restored log house. Other known projects include Greenwood Savings & Loan Association – Aurora Branch (1964, with John Rushmore); and some fill/site work for Boeing’s Kent Space Center (1965).
Segale passed away in Seattle on October 5, 2011 at the age of 86.
– Michael C. Houser