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December 20, 2013

Ray Chalker, engineer of the Tacoma Dome, is dead at 82

  • In the late 1980s, Chalker was structural engineer for Waterfront Place, which covered six square blocks of Seattle along First Avenue.
  • Raymond Chalker, who led structural engineering on the Tacoma Dome and Waterfront Place in Seattle, died Dec. 11 at age 82 from complications of melanoma.

    In 1965, Chalker co-founded a structural engineering firm in Tacoma that is now PCS Structural Solutions. PCS also has a Seattle office.

    Chalker's memorial will be held at 2 p.m. Dec. 29 at Union Station in Tacoma.

    Union Station is also one of the projects on which Chalker led structural design. In the late 1980s the old train station was redeveloped into a federal courthouse.


    Waterfront Place was done in the late 1980s and involved redeveloping six square blocks of Seattle: from Madison to Seneca Street and from First Avenue to the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

    It was a private development project and involved constructing a parking structure and several new buildings, including Watermark Tower, according to Don Scott, a vice president and director of engineering with PCS Structural Solutions. The Alexis Hotel was one of the older buildings that was renovated as part of the development.

    Scott said Chalker loved to preserve the historic architecture of older buildings by helping to make them structurally sound again.

    The Tacoma Dome, on which Chalker was the lead structural engineer, is one of the largest wood domed structures in the world. It opened in 1983.

    Scott said Chalker was a friend to glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, who was raised in Tacoma.

    The structural engineer designed elements to support Chihuly's work in a number of installations around the world.

    Chalker was a longtime member of the board of the Tacoma Art Museum.

    He is survived by his wife, Charlotte Chalker; his daughter, Linda Scott and her husband, Jim Scott of Seattle; his son, Carl Chalker and Carl's wife, Darlene Chalker of Tacoma; grandchildren Charlotte Scott of Mazarron, Spain, and Jack Scott of Seattle; and his stepgrandson, Owen Rocke, of Omaha, Neb.

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