Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Frank Warnke, longtime legislator and past commanding general

Frank Warnke, past Commanding General of the Association of Washington Generals.
General Warnke died Sept. 23

Frank Warnke, a longtime state legislator and immediate past Commanding General of the Association of Washington Generals, died early Sept. 23 following a long illness, according to his son-in-law, Deputy Commanding General Roger Flygare. He was 78.

General Warnke served in the Washington State Legislature for over 20 years.  He was first elected to the House in 1964, serving one term and later returned to represent the 30th district in the House from 1973 to 1983 before serving the 31st district in the Senate from 1983 to 1991.

Mr. Warnke was chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, considered to be the second highest-ranking position in political caucus hierarchy. He was also chair of the Senate's Commerce and Labor Committee.

In addition to his time in the Senate, Warnke served many years as the executive director of the Public School Employees of Washington (see association's obituary). Mr. Warnke served for about a year as Commanding General, following the term of Chuck Hardaway and prior to current Commanding General Bill Sperry.

"Frank Warnke will be remembered by the AWG as a generous, always positive and giving member. He will be greatly missed," Sperry said.

He is survived by his wife Beverly, their daughter Karla Flygare (along with her husband Roger and their son Ehren - and Ehren's fiancé Ashley Alefteras); and their son Kurtis (along with his wife Tamara and Kurtis' son, Ryon Warnke).

A private graveside service was held Tuesday, September 27th at the Mountain View Cemetery in Auburn for family and close friends, with an honor guard by the Washington State Patrol. 

"I would like to thank all of you who were helping with making those important arrangements for Frank Warnke's graveside memorial today," Roger Flygare said in a note to AWG board members. "It was touching and helped add a sense of community for a man who dedicated a huge portion of his life in helping others.  The color guard was an important part of helping with closure for his family."

The family is planning a larger community memorial service for later in the month. Details will be posted as they become available.

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