Henry Freeman GOKEE

Obituary
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GOKEE, Henry Freeman September 10, 1940 - July 16, 2013 Hank left us on a beautiful summer day, his favorite time of the year. He fought a long and courageous battle with colon cancer, and is finally free to spread his wings and join his parents, Flayvel and Dorothy Gokee, along with numerous family members and friends who preceded him in death. Hank was born in Gooding, Idaho, but spent most of his childhood and young adult life in Spokane, attending Hutton Grade School and Lewis and Clark High School. After graduation he enlisted in the Navy and his assignments took him to the Pacific where he spent the majority of his time on a Navy ship near Japan. He loved the new adventures of travel - and most importantly, something that involved boats and "Big Blue" as he referred to the Pacific Ocean. After he completed his tour of duty he returned to Spokane and attended Wenatchee Valley Jr. College and EWU majoring in Chemical Engineering. Fate intervened and he experienced a near-fatal car accident that kept him in the hospital for an extended period. During that time he had an opportunity to meet many health care professionals and became interested in the practice of Anesthesia. He subsequently graduated from Sacred Heart School of Nursing, followed by two years in the Sacred Heart School of Anesthesia program (affiliated with Gonzaga University and the University of Washington), earning the designation of (CRNA), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Upon graduation he was recruited by the U.S. Air Force and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. The next several years took the Gokee family to Texas, Arizona, South Dakota and Turkey. During this time the family was able to travel extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, and parts of the Middle East. During his tour of duty, Hank earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Anesthesia through the Air Force Institute of Technology at Mt. Marty College in Yankton, S.D., and a Master's Degree in Health Facilities Management from Webster University. He became a clinical instructor at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio, and specialized in pharmacology, as it relates to anesthesia. He was a sought-after speaker, and developed a great interest in the biochemistry of the brain. Before returning to his final assignment in Spokane, Hank earned the rank of Lt. Colonel, and had received many accolades for his work and contributions. However, his proudest achievement and most satisfying work came with his second major profession. He became the owner and administrator of Colonial Clinic, a private treatment center for those suffering from chemical dependency. He strongly believed in the idea of acceptance and redemption and worked tirelessly to develop a program that allowed people to find a new path in life while maintaining sobriety. There are hundreds and hundreds of people who claim Hank changed their lives by giving them hope for a new future. Hank had a busy, fulfilling and productive life - but above all, he cherished his family the most. He married his long-time love and best friend, Mina (Gormanos) Gokee on July 28, 1963. Together, they raised three daughters: Renee Zaring, Michelle Morgan (Sandy); Christina Schmidt (Keith), and were blessed with six of the most beautiful, smartest grandkids ever born: Teddy, Henry, Nate, Macy, Eli and Chloe. These kids will never forget the nature trips with Grandpa, riding on his boat, learning how to fish, and enjoying his famous "cabin eggs" or Greek Chicken. Most of all, they will remember a Dad and Grandpa who loved unconditionally and who will always be the wind beneath their wings. Hank is also survived by his sister, Mary Ann Gokee of St. Maries, ID, numerous nieces and nephews, and a sister-in-law (Paula Kunicki) of Duluth, MN, who loved him like a brother. We will all miss this wonderful man and remember his dry sense of humor and no-nonsense style of "just do it." His body gave out long before his mind and spirit did, so we think the following quote from Rumi is fitting: "This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet." Last, but not least, Hank would want us to thank those Angels of Mercy at Sacred Heart Medical Center (Doctors, Nurses, Nursing Assistants and Housekeepers) who so lovingly and tenderly made his long, difficult journey bearable. You offered compassion, care, friendship, and support - with the dignity and love that you knew defined our husband, father and grandfather. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, July 23, at 11:00 AM at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 1703 N. Washington. Interment will follow at Riverside Memorial Park, followed by a reception at Manito Country Club. Memorials may be made to Holy Trinity, The , or Union Gospel Mission. Visit his guestbook at www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com.

Published in Spokesman-Review on July 21, 2013
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