Remembering a Gentle Giant

Evergreen Washelli is holding a memorial service for Jakob Bjarnason, affectionately known as “Big Jake”. Born in Iceland in 1874, he immigrated to the United States in 1890 and, by 1901, found himself in Seattle. He joined the Police Force shortly after. Standing at over seven feet tall and 264 pounds, he was a man to be reckoned with. However, he was mostly known for his good nature and friendly demeanor. Outside of his job, Jakob helped to raise the daughter of his youngest sister Grace, who, in 1904, also immigrated to Seattle.

After a life of service to the Ballard community and his continued participation in the Icelandic-American community, Jakob passed away from heart failure at the age of 53. He was buried here at Evergreen Washelli with a large funeral attended by two-thousand people. His grave, however, was never memorialized with a permanent marker.

Join us at  11:00 AM on May 10th,  Jakob’s 143rd birthday, as we unveil a permanent marker to honor a man who spent his life giving back to his community.

For more on this remarkable man, visit

One Response to Remembering a Gentle Giant

  1. Fridrik Thor Gudmundsson says:

    I will be there, coming all the way from Iceland to honor Jakob, my great-uncle. I am delighted that this is happening.
    Please note, though, that Jakob was born May 10 in 1874, not 1864.
    See you there!
    Fridrik Thor Gudmundsson

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