Donald L. Bakken
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Donald was born in Seattle as the only child of Maude W. Potter and Louis Ludwick Bakken. His early years were spent on a fourteen acre stump ranch in Alderwood Manor, WA, surrounded by 3500 chickens and a variety of farm animals. He attended Alderwood Elementary School and in 1942 enrolled at Edmonds High School. He always had a passion for flying, and with the U.S. involvement in the war, he landed a job in 1943 working at Sand Point Naval Air Station repairing planes. He continued working at Sand Point throughout his high school years and at the same time took flying lessons with the hope of enlisting in the Army Air Corp upon graduation. Instead of the Air Corp he was inducted into the Army. He was discharged in 1947 and enrolled in Everett Community College. Introduced through mutual friends, he starting dating and eventually married Betty June Carlson. Their marriage lasted 55 years and resulted in two children. Betty passed away in 2005. While going to school he started making iron railings and opened a steel shop called Bakken and Koepp Ornamental Iron. After graduating from Everett Community College he enrolled at the University of Washington and graduated with a degree in Industrial Management. As Lynnwood, WA, started to grow, so did his business. He became a charter member of the Lynnwood Chamber of Commerce and through that affiliation met a myriad of local businessmen who would become lifelong friends and business associates. During this time, with Betty's urging, he bought a ramshackle piece of property on Big Lake in Mount Vernon, WA. The home the family enjoys today is the result of all his years of hard work on the property. He earned his private pilot's license in 1946 and spent as many hours as possible in the air for pleasure as well as business. During this time he also took an interest in playing golf and had many happy memories playing with friends and family. Though balancing a busy schedule, he always had an interest in serving the community. In 1955 he became a charter member of the newly formed Lynnwood Rotary Club and would continue his association with Rotary until his death. He was a Board Member and Chairman of the Snoline YMCA (1955-1960), Board Member and Chairman of the Advisory Council for Edmonds School District (1955-1960), Board of Directors for the Snohomish County Economic Development Council (1960-1992), Member of the Lynnwood Commercial Club, South Snohomish County Chamber of Commerce and Everett Chamber of Commerce (1950-1992), Member of the City of Edmonds Planning Commission (1998-2001), Member and past Chairman of the Alderwood Manor Heritage Association (1990-2005) and Member of the LaConner Rotary Club (2001-2019). As his business diversified, so did the scope of his work: remodeling Sick's Stadium, Rocky Reach Dam fish ladders, projects for the Seattle World's Fair and the Red Square sculpture at Western Washington University to name just a few. However he never gave up on his dream of being involved in aviation and his opportunity came in 1972 when he became the new Superintendent of Operations at Paine Field. He later became Airport Manager from 1980-1992. During this time the Lynnwood Rotary Club started sponsoring the Paine Field International Airfair as a club fund raiser. Sponsorship lasted 24 years. To commemorate this achievement he later wrote a book called "Lomcevak!" which chronicled the history of the Airfair. Although his first retirement came in 1992, he continued his work in aviation by accepting a part-time position as the manager of the Arlington Airport until his official retirement in 1995. His later years were spent in Mount Vernon, spending time with friends and family, traveling, playing golf, enjoying the lake and attending LaConner Rotary functions. His life was long; filled with family who loved him, friends who cared about him and incredible accomplish-ments. He will be missed. He is survived by his son, Rick Bakken; daughter, Kris (Bakken) VanderSanden, husband, Doug Vander-Sanden and granddaughter, Jen VanderSanden. There will be a celebration of his life on June 29, 2019 between 12:00 and 4:00pm at the Big Lake residence.


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Published in The Herald (Everett) on May 12, 2019.
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3 entries
May 29, 2019
Rick, Kris and family
I am so sorry for your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
I was fortunate to be Don's first hire after he became airport manager at Paine Field in 1980. He was an inspiring, fair and compassionate boss and a good friend. I will surely miss him.
Bill Dolan
May 15, 2019
Dave Gossett
May 10, 2019
I am very sorry for your loss. Please allow the fondest memories shared with your loved one to be a soothing blanket over your heart. May God words of promise found in John 6:40 brings you consolation and a small measure of peace. Please accept my sincere regards and heartfelt condolences. ~MM~
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