Phillip I. Bakke, 49, died Nov. 26, 2019, on South Whidbey Island, Wash., where he’d lived for over 30 years. His passing, from natural causes, was sudden and unexpected, leaving a hole in the hearts of his family and legions of friends.
Born in 1970 to Ingvar and the late Gudrun Bakke, Phil moved with his parents from Southern California to the Honeymoon Bay area in his early teens. He graduated South Whidbey High School and Western Washington University, Huxley College of Environmental Affairs (B.A., Urban and Regional Planning and Geography).
After graduation, he served an internship with Island County Planning and Community Development (ICPCD), followed by a year-long legislative internship with Washington State Association of Counties.
Rejoining ICPCD, he proceeded to rise through its ranks, serving as director for eight years. During that period, Phil was president of the Washington State County and Regional Planning Directors Association (2006-2008) and Western Vice President – Board of Directors (1999-2006).
Phil earned a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington, Daniel J. Evans School of Government, while also fulfilling new duties as an Island County commissioner (2007-2008). The board had appointed Phil to that position for the remainder of an unexpired term.
Completing over a decade of service to Island County, Phil next moved to serving the Western states of Region X, Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), managing the regional response coordination center. Phil was also a FEMA state liaison deploying virtually and in person to provide critical and timely linkage between the region and the involved state.
Surviving are his immediate family: father, Ingvar Bakke; sister, Karen Bakke; and niece, Gwen Bakke (Phil Fisher). He was pre-deceased by his mother, Gudrun Bakke (nee’ Berg), in 2008. In addition, he leaves behind an expansive group of extended family and friends, with whom he had retained close connections over the years.
A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, at Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club (HHRGC), 3334 Brooks Hill Road, South Whidbey Island. Anecdotes or favorite memories of Phil may be shared at the gathering, aloud or in writing.
For those who would like to send floral tributes, delivery should be between noon and 1 p.m. that day at HHRGC. Or, a charitable contribution may be made in Phil’s memory to Meals on Wheels ISR (Island Senior Resources), 14594 SR 525, Langley WA 98260, or online at www.senior-resources.org (please note “Meals on Wheels”).
While the family appreciates such expressions of sympathy, they do not wish anyone to feel so obligated.
Phillip I. Bakke lived life fully, with a big, welcoming smile for everyone. He enjoyed travel, boating, fishing, scuba diving, home and landscape improvements, all things culinary, and helping others. He was proud of his Norwegian roots and American heritage, patriotic to the core.