Bruce Baker | Obituary

Bruce Baker | Obituary

BRUCE BAKER

1938-2020

In 1956, I had the honor of playing basketball with

the best player in the history of Mt. Si basketball. His

name was Bruce Baker.

At the time, the KingCo League had six high schools

– Mt Si, Issaquah, Bothell, Foster, Bellevue and Lake

Washington.

Bellevue and Lake Washington had more students

in their senior class than Mt. Si had in 4 grades. We

won the league on the back of Bruce. He averaged 27

points per game and scored 273 points total for 10

games. This record lasted for 15 years. There was no 3

point line in ‘56 or he would have scored many more

points. One kid from Mercer Island broke his record

but he had to play in two more games to do it and he

only broke the record by 3 points.

Our last game for the season we played Issaquah

at Issaquah. Bruce scored 35 points that night. The

Issaquah fans were so irate we had to escorted by the

Issaquah police and the WSP from the gym to our

bus. Bruce’s dad was Sergeant of the Washington State

Patrol. He stood at the door while we exited. Not one

Issaquah player or fan exited the auditorium before

us. We also kicked their asses at football in ‘56. Ah, the

good old days!

Bruce was elected 1st Team All Conference End in ‘56.

The vote came from the KingCo Coaches Association.

Bruce was All League End. In 2006, Mt. Si won the

KingCo basketball title, the first time in 50 years.

Bruce was offered scholarships from every major

pacific coast college. He chose WSU because of their

police science program. During his freshman year he

ruptured a disc in his back. His competitive basketball

days were over.

Bruce fell in love with his future wife, Barb

Blankanship, while at WSU. He graduated in ‘60 in

police science.

In ‘61 he attended the Washington State police

Academy in Shelton, WA. He married Barb in ‘60.

They were married nearly 60 years. They had three

children and five grandchildren.

Bruce went back to the Academy as an instructor. In

January ‘62, he became a Trooper for the Washington

State Patrol. In ‘70 Bruce as a Sergeant, ‘75 Lieutenant,

‘82 Captain, ‘84 Major, ‘85 Bureau Chief and in 1988

he retired.

As an instructor, Bruce stressed to his students what

he considered the two most important aspects to a

successful life. 1. Love of Country. 2. Integrity.

Bruce and Barb became snowbirds. They had a home

in Arizona and Shelton. Barb often beat Bruce at

racquetball. Bruce had some episodes of passing out.

After one week of testing, the diagnosis was acute

myeloid leukemia and he passed away 10 days later

on June 23.

Barb has set a date of April 18 for Bruce’s memorial,

Covid-19 willing. The exact date, time and location

will be in the Valley Record at a later date.

Barb would love to hear from Valley friends. Her

number is (360) 764-8189. Just one more thing –

thanks for being my friend for 76 years Bake.

Gary Castagno


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