Tears, laughter for instructor killed in Pioneer Square

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

Loading
SEATTLE —

In the rain of an early fall, friends and family came to Shoreline Community College to say goodbye to one of their own.  The change in seasons fitting, they said, for 46-year-old Troy Wolff, a man who lived fully all the seasons of his too short life. Colleagues said the man stabed to death in Pioneer Square had a special gift.

"A person who has a class size of 28 and 50 students on a waiting list, that's unheard of," said Ernest Johnson, a colleague and friend who played pickup basketball with Wolff. "I mean he was in a class all by himself."

 To his students. Here, they said, not to mourn, but to celebrate.

 "I try not to think about the violence that surrounded his passing," said former student Sean Prather. ""But what I do think after reading how it happened, I would have expected no less for him to step in the way and be that sort of brave." 

Wolff and his partner, Kristin Ito, were leaving a Seattle Sounders game nine nights ago, when Donnell Jackson, a stranger, tried to snatch Ito's purse and began to stab her, prosecutors said.  Wolff stepped in and Jackson stabbed him repeatedly in the neck and torso, police said.  Jackson was arrested, Wolff died the next day and Ito survived.

Neither she nor Wolff's family wanted to talk to reporters today; wouldn't allow any recordings of his service.  Leaving to others to share memories of this man they loved.

"For someone so full of life to die so tragically is really hard," said Amy Kinsel, Shoreline Community College Faculty Union President.

This public celebration of Troy Wolff's life has come to an end, but he likely won't be forgotten anytime soon here. 

Now money is being raised for a memorial scholarship in his name.