Sept. 4 will be Bob Oke Day in Kitsap County

A week shy of what would have been her late husband’s 67th birthday, Judy Oke accepted a proclamation from the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners naming Sept. 4 Washington State Senator Bob Oke Day in Kitsap County.
Former state Sen. Bob Oke, who represented the 26th Legislative District for four consecutive terms, was the driving force behind the Tacoma Narrows Bridge second span, which opened July 16.
‘When you drive through that, you can’t help but think of how Sen. Bob Oke worked to make our life easier, worked to make our life safer,” said South Kitsap Jan Angel, who called Oke a “very special gentleman.”
Oke died of multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer, May 14 at the Seattle Veterans Administration Hospital, just two months before the bridge dedication.
Oke was a Navy veteran, conservative Republican and South Kitsap resident. He retired from the Senate in January because of his health, having earned universal respect among his colleagues in both parties. The Senate paid tribute to Oke in 2005 and 2006. He was also honored at a ceremonial opening of the Tacoma Narrows new span on July 15, which allowed people to walk across the bridge before it opened to traffic the following day.
Oke, served in the Senate on the transportation, natural resources and fisheries committees. In addition to working on regional transportation issues, he was known for his legislative efforts to keep tobacco out of the hands of youngsters statewide, and, closer to home, for his campaign to rid Long Lake in South Kitsap of noxious weeds. An avid sportsman, he also worked toward the enhancement of wildlife.
Judy Oke appeared emotional as Angel read the proclamation, but she smiled radiantly as she stepped to the podium to address the board.
“Bob loved the community with all his heart,” she said. “I’m sure he’s looking down right now with a big grin for yet another pat on his back.”

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