Longtime Port of Bremerton Commissioner Larry Stokes was honored at his last meeting Dec. 10, wrapping up a tenure he started in 1979.
Stokes announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t be seeking another term. Newly elected commissioner Gary Anderson will be taking Stokes’ place at the next port meeting in January.
“I really would like to thank the community, I’d like to thank my fellow commissioners, I’d like to thank the port, I’d like to thank the staff,” Stokes said at the meeting. “It’s really neat when you are able to work in a community like Kitsap County.”
Stokes was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1979, serving for 10 years until 1989. In 2008 and 2014, Stokes was re-elected to the Port Board of Commissioners. Key priorities for Stokes throughout the years included working to boost public outreach and increasing the occupancy of the port’s marina and existing facilities to create jobs and grow revenue generated by port businesses.
“You’re one of a kind, Larry,” former port commissioner Bill Mahan said. “It was a pleasure for me to serve with you. Even though we disagreed on many things, we worked together. You always have done that as a port commissioner. I just want to thank you for your service and I wish you well in your retirement.”
“His impact in our community is something second to none,” Commissioner Axel Strakeljahn said. “He’s always run straight and narrow, always honest, always worked with full integrity, always did what’s right even when it wasn’t easy. At the end of the day, the commissioner always stood for what was right.”
Stokes is a 20-year Navy veteran who specialized in the medical aspects of deep-sea diving. After retiring from the Navy, he founded Stokes Auction Inc., a third-generation family auction company in Kitsap County. The business is now owned and operated by his daughter, a long-time employee of the company.
“I always knew what Larry told me on Tuesday, he’d tell me the same thing on Wednesday,” Commissioner Cary Bozeman said of Stokes’ consistent approach. “He’s a man of his word, he’s what I like to call a good man. I like serving with people like Larry Stokes. I go home at night feeling good about this commission and the people on it.”