Friends and neighbors of Kenmore’s David Ulm, who drowned on the evening of Aug. 1 at Kirkland’s , have launched an effort or raise money to help his wife and two kids save their Arrowhead neighborhood home.
Ulm, 54, was spending an evening at the park with his wife Caroline, his son Daniel, 10, and daughter Tori, 9, when a woman at the park asked for help in retrieving a soccer ball that had gone into Lake Washington. Ulm, who friends say never hesitated to help others and was a certified diver and experienced swimmer, swam to the ball but for unknown reasons began struggling and went under.
His wife and the woman who owned the ball swam out to help but could not find him. and an hour after Ulm went into the lake, they found him on the bottom. Medic crews could not resuscitate him.
Ulm, a computer programmer, had left Microsoft’s XBOX program for another job, and then about three years ago got laid off. He had been unemployed for two years before finding a good job at Group Health. Friends say the family used all of its savings during his period of unemployment. Caroline Ulm is a stay-at-home mom and the two kids are good students at Arrowhead Elementary.
“Dave meant a lot to my family, and we're working hard to keep Caroline afloat,” family friend Coreen Urrutia said in an email to Kirkland Patch. “The Arrowhead Community is working hard to take care of Caroline and the kids, but we are so small there is no way we can meet the goal to help her keep the home.”
The Arrowhead Community is on the north side of Finn Hill off Juanita Drive, a few miles from O.O. Denny Park.
Urrutia said the kids are coping, but Caroline Ulm is devastated. Dave Ulm had worked at Group Health for a year, had earned two weeks vacation and was in the third day of vacation when he drowned.
Neighbor and close friend Charlie Wilson and other friends have created an “Ulm Family Memorial Fund” that is accepting donations at Key Bank branches nationwide and are also using an online fundraising platform here: www.indiegogo.com/wevegotdavesback.
Wilson, the father of 22-month-old twins, said just two days before Ulm drowned he spotted one of the twins, who had slipped out the front door and was walking up the driveway. Ulm scooped the boy up and brought him back inside.
“He was just one of those selfless individuals,” Wilson said. “He was always looking out for the benefit of someone else. He would offer to help before anyone would ask. He was such a good dad, just a really involved father.”
Friends and neighbors have been preparing meals for the Ulm family and checking on them regularly. They have set a fundraising goal of $250,000 to help Caroline save the house and start a college education fund for the children.
David Ulm was born in Corvallis, Ore., and grew up in Bellevue, attending Sammamish High School. His memorial service was held Thursday at a packed Inglewood Presbyterian Church on Finn Hill. His friends are urging anyone wishing to remember him to contribute to the fund at Key Bank or the online site.