In more than 50 years as a marine engineer, Lawrence Robert "Larry" Glosten gained acclaim for creating one of the largest naval architecture firms in the world, working on several innovative projects and maintaining strict ethical standards.

Share story

In more than 50 years as a marine engineer, Lawrence Robert “Larry” Glosten gained acclaim for creating one of the largest naval architecture firms in the world, working on several innovative projects and maintaining strict ethical standards.

Mr. Glosten died Monday (Feb. 22) of complications from chronic lymphocytic leukemia in his Bainbridge Island home. He was 91.

“I’d say he was, and this is an old-fashioned term, but he was a very wise man,” said Bruce Hutchison, senior principal at downtown Seattle-based The Glosten Associates. “One was often amazed at how deeply and penetratingly he felt about things, so you felt so often that you were in the presence of wisdom.”

Mr. Glosten graduated from the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in New York in 1940 and served in the U.S. Navy during World World II. He left active duty in 1946, and that year he married his wife, Lois Peterson “Pete” Glosten.

He moved to Seattle in 1953 and established The Glosten Associates in 1958, although he was then the only employee. The firm today has 65.

“We are all better because he founded the company,” said Peggy Noethlich, the firm’s vice president.

Mr. Glosten led the firm through several innovative projects, including the secret, CIA-orchestrated “Project Jennifer” to recover a Russian Cold War submarine in 1974, a project Hutchison likened to “going to the moon.”

The firm also designed the world-famous FLIP, a cylindrical vessel able to float vertically or horizontally and used for open ocean research.

The way Mr. Glosten conducted business earned the firm a reputation for high ethics and customer service, said Tom Bringloe, the company’s current chairman of the board.

“He viewed the business not fundamentally as a ship-designer business,” Bringloe said. “He would say, ‘We don’t design ships for clients; we solve problems for clients.’ That was his approach to the engineering business.”

Mr. Glosten retired in 2000 and devoted more time to his personal life, which included woodworking, tending to his holly tree orchard and designing furniture.

“He was a very creative person,” said his daughter, Dr. Beth Glosten, of Redmond. “He was always busy on the weekends working on their property.”

Mr. Glosten is survived by his wife, Pete; his daughters, Beth and Barbara Radovich, of San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and his son, Lawrence Glosten Jr., of New York City.

An open house will be held at the Glostens’ home March 28.

Brian Rosenthal: 206-464-3195 or brosenthal@seattletimes.com