NAMI Mourns the Death of Former Board Member Gerald R. (Gerry) Tarutis

Apr 14, 2021

The NAMI family was saddened to learn that former NAMI Board of Directors member Gerry Tarutis passed away on February 28, 2021. Gerry served on the National Board of Directors from 1996 to 2002.

Gerry devoted much of his distinguished legal career and volunteer work to advocacy on behalf of people living with mental illness and other disabilities. A prominent Seattle attorney, he founded Tarutis Legal Solutions, a firm focused on health law.

Gerry grew up in Maryland and graduated from the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law. After law school, he served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a legal advisor, stationed in Liberia, West Africa. Upon his return to the U.S., Gerry became Managing Attorney at the Georgia Legal Services program. During his tenure with Georgia Legal Services, he was part of a team that brought an important case (Parham v. J.R.) addressing the rights of children civilly committed to state hospitals, a case which reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gerry subsequently relocated to Washington State to become Litigation Coordinator for Evergreen Legal Services before founding his own firm. He was an expert on health law, disability law, housing law and public benefits. In addition to his advocacy for individual clients, he represented many community health and mental health providers in the Seattle area.

Gerry was a founding Board member of the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC) and sat on TAC’s Board from 1997 until his death. He also served as a past Board Member and legal advisor to NAMI Seattle.

Gerry was an outgoing person with a disarming manner and infectious laugh. During his time on the NAMI National Board, he showed a knack for taking on difficult subjects with tact and helped the Board reach consensus on tough issues. His life was one of dedication and service and he will be greatly missed.

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