Pete Harksell, Sr. passed away after battling recent health issues. He was in his late 70s. The Ferndale community has been a big beneficiary of Harksell’s tireless volunteer and civic efforts for decades.
Harksell owned and operated Pete’s Ferndale Exxon on the northeast corner of the I-5 Portal Way interchange from 1969. He relocated further north on Portal Way in the early 1990s and soon after handed the reins of the operation off to son, Pete Harksell, Jr.
He was devoted to the Whatcom County Old Settlers Association and served as president in 1978-1979. He contributed trees from his property more than once so the Annual Olde Fashioned Christmas celebration had a proper Christmas tree to light.
Harksell worked to make the State’s highways safer as a commissioner with the Traffic Safety Commission of the State of Washington starting in 1991.
Harksell served on the Ferndale City Council and the City Planning Commission
More recently the Ferndale Senior Activity Center was a recipient of his community efforts. Harksell served as president of the Jet Oldsters Association of Ferndale, the local nonprofit that oversees operations at the Ferndale Senior Center.
According to 1940 census records, Pete was born “about 1936.” He grew up in the area and later married Kathleen Brown, daughter of a Custer pioneer family. They had five children. One daughter, Marie, and four sons, Pete, Scott, Dwayne and Mike.