1952 Michael 2024

Michael William Corke

July 10, 1952 — June 7, 2024

Bainbridge Island

Michael William Corke was born in 1952 in Olympia, Washington. Always full of energy and enthusiasm, Mike grew up with a free spirit in a more innocent time, a time when kids had independence to explore the world and make their own adventures. He kept that sense of adventure throughout his life.

Mike graduated from North Thurston High School in 1970 and The Evergreen State College in 1976. After his graduation, he co-founded an architectural firm, Balance Associates, and was an early pioneer in passive solar building design. In the early 1980s he went to work for Peter Kiewit and Sons and spent several years superintending major construction projects, including the West Seattle bridge and Tacoma’s Shuster Parkway.

Through these experiences he became an expert in mediation and conflict resolution for construction projects, and in his forties, he made another career transition and joined the law firm Stanislaw Ashbaugh as a consultant on construction disputes. He then co-founded his own successful consulting firm, Corke-Amento, with his colleague Steve Amento, and after several successful years there, he finished his career at Kiewit.

Mike prized excellence, transparency, and fairness in every aspect of his professional life. He lived by the “Snicker Bar Rule” that he and his brother Steve instituted when they were kids. If you’re splitting a candy bar, one person cuts it while the other gets to choose who gets which half.
Mike was a true son of the Northwest and loved the wild foods this landscape has to offer. He was an avid razor clammer, crabber, and wild blackberry picker. He farmed his own oysters. He was an excellent cook and loved to entertain friends and family. His wild blackberry pie recipe has become the family standard for the next generation of bakers.

His passion for the Northwest extended to the wild places. He took his children to beaches, forests, and mountains, streams and rivers, camping and hiking, foraging for berries and other treasures. He backpacked extensively throughout Olympic National Park with his son.

Mike became exceptionally good at retirement, travelling with his wife Ellen around the world as well as visiting many national parks in their travel trailer. His many hobbies included woodworking, painting, and gardening. No day was complete for him if it didn’t include a game of Cribbage. Children loved him because he never lost sight of the child within himself.

Mike is survived by his wife and best friend, Ellen, of Bainbridge Island; his daughter Anna Vlasits (Justin) of Oak Park, IL; son Nathan Corke of Yosemite National Park, CA; stepson Dustin (Lindsey) of Wilmington, CA; grandsons Shay, Arthur, Finnegan, and Kai; sister Tammy Ullrich (Rick) of Kennewick, WA; brothers Steve Corke (Wanda) of Lacey, WA, Tim Corke of Yelm, WA, Scott McLain (Pat) and John McLain of Olympia; Ron Corke
(Kaye) of Pasco, WA; and Don Corke (Conna) of Tacoma, WA; and his beloved cat Moki.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert W. Corke and Norma Jean Smith (nee Von Bargen).

Arrangements are entrusted to the Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michael William Corke, please visit our flower store.

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