George P. Bakke, 88, died May 2, 2013, at the Riedel Adult Family Home in Olympia, Wash. His funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. at Springan Funeral Home, Stanley. Burial will be at Cottonwood Cemetery near Powers Lake.
He was born July 11, 1924, in White Earth, to Sigurd and Olga (Nordby) Bakke. He attended a one-room schoolhouse in rural Mountrail County through eighth grade, while at the same time helping his family run their farm on the north side of Cottonwood Lake.
As a young man, George worked as a farmhand for a neighbor, and also sought adventure travelling through South Dakota, Nebraska and Oklahoma with a team doing custom-combining work. Later, he began to spend his winters in the far west, first living in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and then in Seattle, Wash., working various construction jobs.
Around 1950, he decided to permanently settle in Seattle, lured by the natural beauty of the mountains, lakes and forests, and abundance of work opportunities. He eventually found steady employment with Culbertson Mayflower Moving and Storage, a job which he held for 35 years.
Also, in the early 1950s, he met and fell in love with Evelyn "Evie" Staffanson, whom he married on Sept. 13, 1952. In 1956, he and Evie bought a house and settled in a quiet neighborhood in north Seattle. It was here that they raised their two children: Paul, born in 1957; and, Georgia, born in 1960.
George loved gardening, and his vegetable garden and flower beds were admired by all who knew him. He also had a passion for all types of fishing, and his vacations were often to eastern Washington or British Columbia, where the biggest trout were found. George sought community through many years of service with the Moose Lodge, as a Block Watch organizer, and in participation on bowling leagues.
George was known to all as a friendly, gentle person, with a good sense of humor that carried well into his later years. Children adored him. He was physically strong most of his life, and enjoyed helping friends, relatives and neighbors with their work. He helped several older friends and relatives in numerous ways as they became unable to live independently.
George was deeply shaken by the tragic death of his daughter, Georgia, in 2002, and then by the sudden death of his wife, Evelyn, in 2004, after nearly 52 years of marriage. Though still strong, he never laughed or smiled quite the same afterwards.
George is survived by: his son, Paul, daughter-in-law, Susan, and grandson, Simon, all of Lacey, Wash.; by sisters, Sylvia Olson, Tioga, Thora Nelson, of Stanley, and Nina Williams, Cottonwood, Ariz.; and, by brother, Ernie Bakke, Rochester, Minn.
In addition to the loss of his wife and daughter, he was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Bernice Bakke; and brothers, Alvin Bakke, Lewis "Bennie" Bakke, Ole Bakke and Maurice Bakke.
Donations in George's name may be made to Trout Unlimited, (www.tu.org).
Online condolences may be shared at (www.springanfuneralhome.com).