Retired Seattle Police Officers Association

Last Ring

Take a moment to remember our friends and associates who have passed.

Bob Whalen #1973, retired Seattle Police Patrolman passed away on September 20, 2014. He was 84 years of age upon passing. 

Bob was born in Butte, Montana. His father was an electrician and powder monkey in the copper mines until he contracted miner’s lung-silicosis. This caused the family to move to Seattle when Bob was twelve. He went to public schools on Queen Anne. Upon graduating from high school, he joined the Navy for four years. His MOS was gunner’s mate on troop transport ships and later destroyers. His ships supported the troops during the Korean War and occasionally fired shells at Vietnam’s coast while the French were fighting the Viet Cong. After his active duty tour, he joined the Navy Reserves. 
He returned to Seattle in 1953 and got a job as a pipe fitter. The company sent him to Eastern Washington. After two years in Conconully, Bob decided to return to the big city in 1955. With his Navy experience, he became a Harborman in September 1955, patrolling Seattle’s waterfronts. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Bob was reactivated for ten months. Shortly after returning from the crisis duty, he was transferred to Patrol and assigned to Wallingford. He walked the beat on the “Ave” with George Gough #1394 until 1971. Mike Burke #3140 was their relief partner. About this time the Navy told Bob his MOS had been deleted so Bob talked to John Hoberg #1302 to see if he could join the CID Unit at Fort Lawton. John told Bob, “If you can pass boot camp, you’re in.” Bob sailed through the training at 50 years of age. He did another 15 years at the Army Reserves. Then Bob went to Communications for two years. While there, he designed and helped build a new piece of equipment – the Communications Bus. Two years later he returned to Wallingford to walk the one-man beat in Lake City. His motto on the beat was “treat nice people nice and the others accordingly”. He worked the 1st and Lander Sears store off duty. He retired with twenty-five years of service in the fall of 1980.
In retirement, he moved to Whidbey Island to build his own home on the beach. His hobbies were fishing and crabbing. In early 2006 his doctor gave Bob only four months to live due to asbestos in his lung. Bob disagreed and told the doctor, “You don’t know what you are talking about”. To prove his point, Bob lived another eight years. 
Bob is survived by a son, Dean; and a daughter, Melody; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.