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Originally published January 24, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Page modified January 24, 2009 at 5:18 PM

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Obituary | Lee Brock, UW football player, educator

For the one-time hulking Garfield High School and University of Washington football defensive end, a diagnosis of stomach cancer was, as one might expect, devastating.

Seattle Times staff reporter

For the one-time hulking Garfield High School and University of Washington football defensive end, a diagnosis of stomach cancer was, as one might expect, devastating.

Lee Brock was out of the limelight of his gridiron years when his illness was diagnosed. Still, surgery and treatment necessitated his retirement a decade ago as assistant dean of social sciences and humanities at Bremerton's Olympic College.

Mr. Brock, 61, known to few by his first name, Orble, but to most as simply Lee, was found dead at his SeaTac home last Saturday (Jan 17).

The 1966 Garfield grad and varsity letterman, who attended the UW on a sports scholarship, was a defensive end, No. 87, on the UW's Huskies from 1967 through 1969. That period was marked by a lackluster record and rocked by racial strife under coach Jim Owens.

In 1969, Mr. Brock was team co-captain and named Pac-8 All-Conference that year. He was selected for the 1969 East-West Shrine all-star game in San Francisco, where he received the Spaulding Award for top defensive performance, and in the Hula Bowl in Honolulu in 1970.

"Lee was a tenacious competitor, and that same competitiveness he took in pursuit of his education," said Greg Alex, of Seattle, a former Huskies teammate.

"He was a great captain, and he had the respect of the players, both offense and defense," said Dr. Ralph Bayard, of Seattle, who also played for the 1969 Huskies.

Mr. Brock had a free-agent tryout with the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League in 1970 and played during the early 1970s with the World Football League's Portland Storm.

Senior athletes and coaches taught him more than just how to play football, he told a Seattle Times reporter during a 1989 interview. They led him, he said, to other mentors, who eventually led him to a career outside the game in student-counseling services.

With a sociology degree from the UW, and a master's degree in education counseling, he was director of student programs and recruitment at North Seattle Community College, then returned to the UW in 1989 to recruit the first students to attend the new Tacoma branch campus.

"He wanted to leave a legacy," said his daughter, Leanne Rye Brock, of Edmonds. "He wanted his children to know the type of father we had."

Also surviving are a son, Benjamin Jamaal Brock, of Seattle; his former wife, Brenda Rye Brock, of Seattle; two grandsons; a brother, Earl Gene Brock, of Minnesota; and three sisters, Alverna Lee Vallery, of Dallas, and Edna Vale Chapman and Annie Jean Carroll, both of Seattle.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. today at Seattle's Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Ave.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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