Frank Warnke

Former State Senator Frank J. Warnke

May 18, 1933 – Sept. 23, 2011

Former Washington State Sen. Frank J. Warnke, 78, died at his Auburn home on Sept. 23, 2011. Warnke, a Democrat, was first elected to the Washington State House of Representatives in 1964 and represented two different South King County districts in the Washington State House and Senate for 20 years as a legislator. During his tenure in the state Senate, he was Chairman of the Labor and Commerce Committee and was later Democratic Caucus Chairman. In 1967, Warnke was hired by Public School Employees of Washington, and in 1974, he was made the first executive director, a position he held until he retired from the organization in 1991. Following his retirement from the Senate, he continued working in Olympia building a successful public relations firm. During his service as a legislator, Warnke was instrumental in many projects for the state, including formation of the Auburn Game Farm Park.

Warnke served in the Coast Guard and was honored by a Color Guard at a graveside service held on Sept. 27. Warnke is survived by his wife Beverly, daughter Karla Flygare (Roger), son Kurtis (Tamara), grandsons Ehren (Ashley) and Ryon, and great-grandchildren McKenzie, Gavin and Matthew. He also leaves behind two sisters, Laura Bade and Jean Smith, and one brother Edward McMeel.

A memorial service to celebrate and honor Frank’s life and his contributions to the state will be held on Thursday, Nov. 10, at the State Capitol Legislative Building in the Rotunda. The memorial will begin at 11:30 a.m. followed by a reception in the Columbia Room. Donations can be made to the Frank J. Warnke Memorial Fund, which will be used to fund scholarships and internships.

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