The Story of Stan

Stanley H. Bassett was born September 21, 1944 and grew up as the middle child, with three sisters and a brother, on a 30 acre family farm in the Green River Valley, located between Auburn and Kent. Stan became ill with polio when he was 6 years old and spent a year in the hospital. After he recovered, he used a wheel chair to assist with mobility.

Stan was well like growing up, with many friends and was well thought of by teachers. Schoolmates and school staff contributed to a penny drive when Stan was 8 and donated the funds to the hospital where he was recovering.

When he was 17, schoolmates and school staff once again raised funds for Stan, this time to help him purchase a new wheel chair, dubbed a 1962-Model “Stanley Steamer”. The new wheel chair replaced the one he had worn out driving on the family farm, fishing, hunting, and playing games with his family and friends.

Stan attended Green River Community College and eventually transferred to Central Washington State College (now Central Washington University), graduating with a degree in psychology and a minor in sociology.
Stan volunteered and then worked with Kittitas County Youth Services beginning in the late 1970’s. He was elevated to the position of program director in 1986 and led the program for more than 30 years, working with at-risk youth, developing mentorship programs, developing an afterschool homework program at Mt. Stuart Elementary, as well as, afterschool park programs. In addition to working with youth at Youth Services, Stan worked as a lunchroom and playground supervisor for Morgan Middle School for more than 20 years. In addition to overseeing the Youth Services program, Stan served on the Ellensburg City Council for over 23 years,never losing a campaign in his 6 elections.

During his time serving on the Ellensburg City Council, Stan played a major part in the acquisition of the property on Capitol Avenue where the Stan Bassett Youth Center is located, the creation of the skate park on Pearl Street, the acquisition of land for Rotary Park, among others.

In 2010 the Ellensburg City Council held a meeting at the then “Ellensburg Youth and Community Center” (EYCC), and surprised Stan by renaming the EYCC the “Stan Bassett Youth Center” (SBYC) in his honor. During the announcement, family members who had traveled from around the state, surprised Stan and joined him in the celebration. The City Council also declared May 3rd “Stan Bassett Day” to honor Stan for his decades of service as a city councilman, his support of the development of youth programs and his mentoring and guidance of youth, teens, college students, and adults.

Among his many honors, Stan was named the 2011 “Kittitas County Person of the Year” by the Ellensburg Daily Record.

“He was a much loved and tremendously respected citizen and friend. He touched the lives of all who knew him. He brought smiles and good cheer to all. He devoted his entire life to building community and advocating for kids. A job well done, a life well lived. He will be missed.”