Just learned this morning that former state senator Bob Oke passed away last night after a long battle with multiple myeloma, a rare form of blood cancer. Oke, a Republican, served in the state Senate from 1991 to 2006 and represented the 26th legislative district (Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, and parts of Bremerton). He was an avid sportsman and served as chair and ranking minority member of the Senate Parks and Recreation committee for many years.
Oke may be best remembered for his tireless work to build the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge — a goal that often put him at odds with his own constituents on the west side of the sound. He also fought for many years to outlaw the giving away of tobacco products at public events where youth were present and saw that bill signed into law just over a year ago.
I worked with Senator Oke for many years as a Senate staff member and he was truly one of the kindest and most diligent elected officials I have ever met. He was a man of tremendous integrity and I will miss him.