Sen. Jean Berkey, who served the 38th Legislative District for 10 years, first in the House and later in the Senate, passed away Aug. 21 after a brief illness. She was 74.
Condolences from members of the Senate came rolling in following the news of their former colleague’s passing. Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, said that Berkey served as a model of what an effective legislator should be.
“She was an original member of the Roadkill Caucus and helped shape our group’s priorities and made us an effective voice of reason in a sometimes overly partisan environment,” Hobbs said. “Jean Berkey was what a legislator should be – attentive, willing to compromise and passionate.”
Sen. Nick Harper, who succeeded Berkey as Senator from the 38th, said she spent a lifetime advocating on behalf of the state and her adopted hometown of Everett.
“The 38th District has lost a dedicated public servant,” Harper said. “Sen. Berkey spent her life in service to our state and our community and we all owe her a debt of gratitude for a lifetime of advocating on behalf of others.”
Jean Berkey was born in Loma Linda, Calif. in 1938. She moved to Everett as a child and graduated from Everett High School in 1957 and later from Everett Community College.
Berkey began her long career in public service in the late 1960s when she joined the Snohomish County Labor Council as a delegate representing the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a position she held for 15 years.
She also served on the Everett Civil Service Commission, United Way of Snohomish County, the Everett Medic One Foundation and was a trustee of the Everett Community College.
Berkey was first appointed to the House of Representatives in 2000 and then to the Senate in 2004.
A memorial service will be held Sept. 14 at 2 p.m. in the Weyerhaeuser Room at Everett Station located at 3201 Smith Ave.