Mr. Eason served as president of Seattle King County NAACP from 1999 to 2002. “He leaves behind a long, distinguished history of fighting for civil rights and equality for all,” the organization said in a statement.

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Oscar Eason Jr., a longtime civil-rights leader and community activist in Seattle who broke down workplace barriers and fought for social justice, died Monday. He was 87.

Mr. Eason, an African American, was exposed to segregation at an early age.

“My father owned a service station that had two water fountains, one of which we legally couldn’t use,” Mr. Eason told an in-house publication of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a 2012 article marking his 50th year of service.

Mr. Eason, who lived in Seattle, died at Valley Medical Center in Renton, said his wife, Lois Eason. She said he had battled chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Born in East Bernard, Texas, on June 30, 1930, Mr. Eason moved with his family to San Antonio, where he grew up and graduated from high school. He won a track scholarship from a Texas college, which he began attending while finishing high school.

After a year, he moved to New York City to attend New York University. He took a semester off to take a job and then was drafted into the Army and sent to Korea during the Korean War, Lois Eason said.

Mr. Eason returned to school after the war, earning a mechanical-engineering degree in 1957 from Prairie View A&M College in Texas, now known as Prairie View A&M University.

He worked for an airplane company in California before moving to Seattle in 1958 to take a job with Boeing.

Through mutual friends, Mr. Eason met his future wife in 1960.

“I thought he was a smartass,” Lois Eason said.

But she married him in 1961, after dating and falling in love. They had a son, Oscar Eason III.

In 1962, Mr. Eason applied to the Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District. He got the job despite being told he probably wouldn’t be hired, and people were surprised to learn that a black man was a mechanical engineer, he told the in-house publication.

“This guy, Gephardt, decided to give me a chance,” Mr. Eason recalled. “He warned me I’d take a lot of flak, but I considered it a privilege to work for the government.”

When a co-worker directed a racial slur toward him, a commander corrected the employee, Mr. Eason said, noting the appreciation he felt at the time.

“I grew up being called names and I got used to it,” he said, citing Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947, as a model for dealing with insults.

In the Corps, Mr. Eason served in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield during the Gulf War in the early 1990s.

As the civil-rights movement was growing, Mr. Eason became involved in organizations at work and eventually served as president of Blacks in Government from 1994 to 1998, representing 2.5 million African-American employees in the federal, state, county and municipal sectors.

Mr. Eason served from 1999 to 2002 as president of Seattle King County NAACP, which posted a statement on its website.

“It is with a heavy heart we grieve the loss of a longtime NAACP activist and leader, Oscar Eason, Jr.,” the statement said, noting six decades of service in which he also served as NAACP president of the Alaska, Oregon, Washington Conference.

“He leaves behind a long, distinguished history of fighting for civil rights and equality for all,” the statement said.

“While Oscar is no longer with us, his legacy will live on for ages, both in his personal life and in the mission of the NAACP. He will have an everlasting impact on the hearts and souls of all the people who had the pleasure of knowing and working him over the years. Our thoughts and Prayers go out to his family, as we all have lost a legend of Civil Rights in Oscar Eason, Jr.,” the statement said.

Mr. Eason also served as chair of the Washington state Commission on African American Affairs.

“Oscar had no hobbies,” Lois Eason said. “He didn’t golf. He didn’t fish. He didn’t bowl.”

Instead, he advocated for social justice, she said.

“It’s all important to him,” Lois Eason said. “Because growing up as a young man and kid in Texas and seeing the injustice imposed on African-American people really colored his attitude … his resolve.”

Mr. Eason did enjoy listening to jazz, she said.

Besides his wife and son and his wife, Gloria Eason, of Gladstone, Missouri, Mr. Eason is survived by four grandchildren, Oscar Eason IIII; Derek Eason; Lauryn Rene Eason; and Jeremy Skye Eason.

Mr. Eason also has a daughter, Angela Green, of St. Louis, from a relationship before he met Lois Eason, and Mr. Eason and his wife claimed as grandchildren Elexy Hamilton and Jazzmin Hill from prior relationships of Oscar III’s first and current wife.

Funeral arrangements at St. Paul Catholic Church, 10001 57th Ave. S. in Seattle, are pending.