Gung-ho Husky couple shows spirit by mentoring athletes, supporting academics and decorating home
Since her freshman year at the University of Washington, Nancy Remak, ’75, ’80, has missed fewer home football games than she can count on one hand. She and her husband Ben (Nancy calls him a “Dawg-in-law”) are such devoted fans that they once scheduled his heart surgery so he would have enough time to recover before the home opener.
But cheering on the sidelines isn’t all the couple has done to show their Husky loyalty. They mentor students and support numerous academic and athletic programs at the University. Then there’s their house. They’ve turned over a whole room to Husky regalia. In their garage sits a purple and gold car — with a UW license plate, of course.
They trace their love of all things purple and gold to 1981, when they got their first husky puppy, Coquette. Don James, the football coach at the time, spotted the dog and asked if they would bring her back for picture day. The rest was history — Coquette posed with the team in nearly every photo shoot for 10 years. After only a few picture days, Ben and Nancy began to develop a relationship with the team. Before every game, the players would line up as Ben passed out his homemade beef jerky as a token of good luck.
In 1999, the couple began mentoring athletes. They have had five mentees so far, including Roy Lewis, ’08, who played for the Seahawks and the Steelers. “Nancy is a true Husky legend. I love talking football with her,” says Roy, who was team captain of the Seahawks and the number six cornerback in the NFL before he was injured last August. “You can tell she’s a Husky through and through.”
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Help Ben and Nancy support Huskies by contributing to the Freedman-Remak Family Scholarship Fund in History, the Nancy and Ben Remak “Double Dawg” Fellowship or the Remak Family Endowment for Husky Volleyball.
Last year, Roy spent Father’s Day with Ben because both Nancy and their daughter were out of town. “I know there are a lot of great Husky fans, but I don’t see many taking young Huskies into their homes, feeding them and making sure they have somebody to talk to,” Roy says. “It’s one thing to be a fan; it’s one thing to be an alum; and it’s another thing to be a true Husky brother or sister. The Remaks are the epitome of Huskies.”
Four of their five mentees have been from California, so they haven’t always had family present at home games. “This gives them someone to make them feel special,” Nancy says. Leading up to each player’s graduation, Nancy and Ben spend time putting together a scrapbook with football photos and a highlight reel.
While the Remaks have a passion for Husky sports and have given in support of the Husky Stadium renovation, they also care deeply about how students are doing off the field. That’s why they have created and support a number of scholarships.
In the Department of History, the couple created the Remak Family Fund for Excellence in History and the Freedman-Remak Family Scholarship to support History majors who face the high costs of out-of-state tuition. Jackson Hathorn, ’11, received the Freedman-Remak scholarship his junior year and has since spent two Thanksgivings with the Remaks. “They’re such warm and nice people,” says Jackson. “They are probably the most gung-ho Husky fans I’ve ever met. It’s kind of infectious. I certainly found myself enjoying my time at the UW in a different way.”
The Nancy and Ben Remak “Double Dawg” Endowed Fellowship attracts an outstanding, admitted MPA candidate with a UW undergraduate degree to attend the Evans School of Public Affairs, rather than an out-of-state graduate program.
“The help these scholarships provide to the students is so much more than the hurt it is to us to write the check,” says Ben. “But it’s so worth it,” adds the “Dawg-in-law” with a smile.