Keeper of coal-mine history dies hiking near Leavenworth

Steve Grate of Renton

Stephen Grate of Renton, who led hikes in the Renton and Issaquah areas to teach the history of coal mining, died Friday night while hiking with his son Michael near Leavenworth.

The 52-year-old Grate suffered a head injury after falling about 15 feet from a large rock on Asgaard Pass leading to the Enchantment Lakes hiking trails, according to the Wenatchee Daily World.

Services for Grate are 2 p.m. Thursday at St. Peter United Methodist Church, 17222 N.E. Eighth St., Bellevue, where he was a member.

Grate, who was single, was an independent computer consultant, said Erica Maniez, the director of the Issaquah History Museums, where Crate was a volunteer and docent.

She said his son Michael was a recent graduate of Evergreen College.

“I used to tell him he was an Renaissance man,” she said of Grate. “Getting to know him was like peeling an onion.”

Maniez met Grate six or seven years ago when he came to the museum with an idea and a request.

He was interested in the history of coal mining in the region and wanted to look at the museum’s maps. His research extended elsewhere, too. That led to his exploratory hikes and gathering up GPS coordinates of important stops along the way.

Then he came back to the museum, saying he wanted to lead hikes to the coal mines that dot the region. He led hikes to such mines as the Issaquah and Superior Mine on Squak Mountain and the Grand Ridge Mine near the Issaquah Highlands.

Grate would put in extra effort when he led students on hikes, Maniez said.

“He would pull out all the stops for the kids,” she said.

Besides his interest in mines, Grate was the go-to guy when the museum needed help with its computer technology, she said, which included updating the museum’s computers.

As part of the museum’s summer program, he presented a slideshow at the museum of 100 images showing Issaquah landmarks, including the IOOF Hall, Pickering Farm, Memorial Field and the intersection of Front and Sunset.

He told the story of how the Washington State Militia came to settle unrest in Issaquah in the summer of 1891 and explained why buildings at the intersection of Front and Sunset were originally built on an angle.

Grate was active at the annual July 4th Heritage Day at the Issaquah Train Depot, where he worked the laundry station, showing children how to wash clothes on a scrub board, use an old-fashioned wringer and hang the clothes to dry.

Among his awards through his museum volunteer work was the Linda Ruehle Award for fundraising in 2008.

“He was an amazing resource,” said Maniez.

But there was more to Grate than just history and computers.

“I think the capper is the day he brought me a jar a jam,” she said, made with berries he had picked along the trail.

More in News

Michelle Obama brings largest crowd of book tour to Tacoma Dome

Former First Lady and author of ‘Becoming’ spends afternoon with local book club prior to event.

Renton woman pleads guilty to fraudulent insurance claim

Stephanie Pepper Snider is ordered to repay State Farm more than $10,000.

A man addresses the King County Council during a public hearing March 20 at New Life Church in Renton. He presented bags filled with what he said was hazardous materials dropped on his property by bald eagles. Another speaker made similar claims. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Locals show support for King County waste to energy plant

Public hearing on landfill’s future was held March 20 in Renton.

King County Council with Sarah Reyneveld, chair of the King County Women’s Advisory Board. Photo courtesy of King County
King County proclaims March as Women’s History Month

This year’s theme is Womxn Who Lead: Stories from the past and how they influence the future.

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                The Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 were grounded in the U.S. last week after a second deadly crash in the last six months. There has been increased scrutiny on the safety of the planes, which are produced in Renton.
Boeing production lines in Renton to halt next week due to previous delays

Spokesperson for Boeing said the previously scheduled days will help with winter storm and supplier delays.

Detectives seek witnesses to fatal collision

The collision happened around 5:50 a.m. on Interstate 90 near state Route 18.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. The Maplewood golf course, where a former employee of the Pro Shop on site told state auditors he defrauded the city of thousands of dollars.
Stolen money reveals lack of oversight at Renton golf course

State auditor: City failed to create proper checks and balances at Maplewood Golf Course

Screenshot of b-roll of the Meggit Training System FATS 300LE, a five-screen simulator for police training that the Renton Police Department is considering for purchase. Courtesy of Meggitt.
Virtual training for Renton police possible in near future

The police presented their preferred choice of a five-screen training simulator at Committee of the Whole, March 11 with 300-degree display. It could be purchased some time this year, pending budget adjustment and council approval.

Courtesy of Renton School District
Three of the snow make-up days waived by the state

Renton schools posted on Tuesday that the three snow make-up days previously unscheduled are waived for students. Staff will still need to determine how to add those days.

Most Read