Robert Resoff, a partner in Emerald Downs Racetrack in Washington state and a pioneer in the Northwest seafood business, died Sunday at Virginia Mason Medical Center. He was 85.
In addition to his Emerald Downs interest, Resoff was well-known as a top poker player and he raced 1990 Longacres Mile (gr. III) winner Snipledo. Resoff reportedly paid $60,000 for Snipledo, who went on to earn more than $250,000. He also campaigned stakes winners Artica, Nifty Nice, and Strong Award (in partnership).
According to the Seattle Times
, Resoff was born in Alaska to a family that split following the death of his mother while he was still in his youth. Resoff, who stayed with his father while other siblings went elsewhere, took up fishing at an early age, because, as his longtime partner Linda Seven told the Times
, "He liked that as long as you were fishing, you'd never go hungry."
Resoff served in the U.S. Army during World War II, protecting the Alaska coastline from possible invasion, the newspaper reported. It was while in the Army that Resoff gained a reputation for his poker skills, and he reportedly left the service with $40,000 more than when he went on as a result of his gambling acumen.
reported that Resoff pioneered the king-crab industry in the 1950s by introducing a method of shaking the meat from the shells by having employees and their families use kitchenware. In the 1960s, Resoff converted a prominent ferry into a floating crab processor and moored it in Kodiak, Alaska. In 1984, Resoff started Seattle-based SeaCatch, a fish-processing company from which he never retired. The Times
reported that Resoff, who followed a strict regimen of daily weight-lifting and walking on a treadmill, attended a meeting at SeaCatch as late as last Friday, two days before his death.
A memorial for Resoff is scheduled for Friday at the Washington Athletic Club.