July 10, 1947 — Sept. 19, 2013
Jay went from us without fear or complaint following kidney failure. A scholar and sportsman, he brought a daunting intellect to a nearly limitless range of interests and his sense of fun to skiing, sailing and flying. His friends benefited from his sentimental and generous heart.
Born to Mildred and Vince Broze at what is now Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Jay sailed on the SS Aleutian with his mother and sisters to Anchorage when he was 2. His father worked to establish Air Mail routes for the Postal Service, and returned from trips with slides of Native Alaskan outposts, mountain ranges and hair-raising tales of flying without instruments and emergency landings. Jay attended Chugach Elementary and learned to ski at Arctic Valley.
Back in Seattle, he went to Nathan Eckstein and graduated from Roosevelt in 1965, and began sailing with his uncle, Jim Ekern. After receiving a B.A. in history at Whitman College in 1969, he went on to earn an M.A. at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., with a concentration in Arabic studies. He found both college and graduate programs enormously stimulating and they set the tone for his lifelong inquiry into practically everything.
He returned to the Northwest once more and found work as a copywriter for George Lowe at Kraft Smith and Lowe. As Georg Lowe remembers it: “Jay fit in perfectly — Johns Hopkins University, history degree, no agency experience, but he could write. A man of broad interests and powerful intellect, he could also discourse — brilliantly — on just about any subject... Always fun, always brave, smart and willing under any and all conditions.”
Inquiry, writing, sailing, skiing, flying and having fun would be the hallmarks of the rest of his life.
In the mid-’70s, Jay mailed an unsolicited story to SAIL magazine about the de-masting of a boat off the Washington coast. As Keith Taylor, editor at SAIL during that splendid era, tells it, “… I know it came across my desk and it was a wonderful piece. I seized on it like a hungry dog clamps onto a juicy bone. From then on Jay covered the America’s Cup for SAIL until I departed in 1988. His last assignment for me was Fremantle in 1987 when the Aussies unsuccessfully defended the Cup. His name was on the masthead of SAIL through the ‘70s and ‘80s. In 1983 in Newport, R.I., he was one of the insiders who first understood what Aussie designer had achieved with Australia II’s winged-keel.
“.. (He had) a wonderful wry quirky view of the world that endeared him to all he met. His ability to walk down a dock and greet old sailor friends, and make new ones, was unrivaled.”
In 1982, Jay wooed and married Diana Cochener, a former Whitman classmate, and became a great dad to her young son, Joaquin Mason. The couple had two other sons, Rafael and Elliot, and Jay and the boys were so close and played together so much that friends joked that Diana had four boys. But there was much more than just play going on, and all three sons grew into good and successful young men who shared Jay’s curiosity about all things.
Having been in love with planes and flying since a child, Jay became a pilot, then aerobatic pilot, in his 40s. As luck would have it, his passion for aerobatic flying coincided with the births, in short order, of his two younger sons, so he flew his Great Lakes trainer for his own joy and his passengers’ pleasure and, often, astonishment when they found themselves upside down over the Cascades or spiraling over the Scablands. Later, he aided and abetted his oldest and youngest sons in working toward their glider licenses when they were in their early teens.
After 1988, when SAIL chose to shift its focus away from the big ocean races, Jay continued to write, but, without a deadline and always willing to pick up a ringing telephone to talk, most of his story ideas and novel first chapters got put on the back burner. He consistently opted instead to be a devoted father to his sons and a generous and responsible friend.
In 2000, however, his great friend, Jim Dietz, asked him to write the copy accompanying Jim’s work for a book. “Portraits of Combat, The World War II Art of James Dietz” was published the following year.
In 2011, Diana and Jay sold their home in Seattle, and moved to the Walla Walla home they had owned for many years.
He left behind his wife, Diana Cochener Broze of Walla Walla; his sons, Joaquin Mason of Somerville, Mass., Rafael Broze of Washington, D.C., and Elliot Broze of Anchorage, Alaska; his sisters, Katherine Flynn of Anchorage, Alaska, and Valerie Bystrom of Seattle; as well as numerous adoring nieces; and a prior marriage, to Ann Hunter (Wellborn), ended in divorce.
A memorial to Jay will be held frequently whenever two people who knew and loved him get together for the rest of their lives.