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Mon, Oct. 18

Obituary: Benjamin Bakke

Ben was born in Pittsburgh on March 3, 1927, and died peacefully on April 30, 2013, in Heroes' Way at the VA Medical Center in Prescott, Ariz.

Upon graduation from Wilkinsburg High School in May 1945, he joined the Navy, trained at Great Lakes and served in Biloxi during the closing days of World War II.

He graduated from Carnegie Mellon as an electrical engineer, and later earned a master's from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from George Mason University.

After living in many places - Seattle, Syracuse, Germany, downstate Illinois, northern Virginia and Dallas - Ben and his wife, in 1992, selected Prescott as their retirement paradise, living for many years in the house adjacent to the Bridge Centre on N. Pleasant Street before moving into Manzanita Village, the co-housing community of which Ben was one of the founders. For 21 years, he was a member of Unity Church, and for 23 years he celebrated his sobriety through AA, a significant part of his life.

Some of Ben's favorite activities were downhill skiing until his early 70s, rafting the Colorado with his son, creative writing classes and the OLLI program at Yavapai College, countless years of playing tournament bridge, and travel to many parts of the world.

He is survived by his brother Richard; son Sean and three grandchildren, Alexandra, Samantha and Nikki, all from San Diego; his daughter Heidi Wolfe from Campobella, S.C.; his wife Polly Hoover and her four children, Kathryn Maxwell from Tucson, Karma Jung-Clarke from Roseberg, Ore., Steve Clarke from Albuquerque, Tom Clarke from Anthem, Ariz., and 11 grandchildren; sister-in-law Bonnie Hoover of New Buffalo, Mich.; brother-in-law Harry Hoover of Earl Park, Ind.; and cousins Mary Fran Sciulli of Columbus, Ohio, Rowene Butler of Pittsburgh, and Ken Stroebel of Topeka.

Ben will be missed by his neighbors, his friends from the bridge table, his friends from his writing classes, many "Friends of Bill," and by his loyal, four-footed friend Genie, the magical puggle.

A celebration of Ben's life will be at noon on Thursday, May 9, 2013, at Unity of Prescott, 145 S. Arizona.

Information provided by survivors.

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