A Memorial Service with Military Honors for former Des Moines Mayor and Councilmember Bob Sheckler will be held at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at 11:30 a.m.
As we previously reported, Sheckler passed away on July 24, 2022 in Sequim, Washington.
He was 74-years-old.
Sheckler served on the Des Moines City Council from Jan. 1, 1996 to Dec. 31, 2015. During that time he served as Mayor from Jan. 1, 2004 to Dec. 31, 2011. He served 20 years on Council, which currently is the longest-termed Councilmember.
Here’s an editorial he wrote for The Seattle Times when he was Mayor in 2008: “Benefits of federal earmarks obscured by high-profile abuses”
Since his passing, we’ve received numerous comments on his legacy:
Former Mayor & Councilmember Dave Kaplan:
“Bob Sheckler was an important change-agent for Des Moines. For decades, our city’s residents continued to vacillate between the business and service environment they wanted, and remaining a sleepy little town. As Bob knew, change happens no matter what … the question is what you want that change to look like. Bob Sheckler helped define what that change should look like.
“Whether the Marina District (downtown), Pacific Ridge, or vacant Port land, Bob had a vision for what the City could become, and he pursued it aggressively. It was Bob’s efforts: to persuade the location of a hotel in Des Moines instead of elsewhere; approval of the Waterview Crossing development; working with the Port of Seattle to move ahead on right of way improvements for the streets bordering the Des Moines Creek Business Park and other developable land; pushing Water District #54 to move ahead with a water main in downtown; review of permitted uses in downtown; looking at design guidelines in downtown; working on provisions to hold property owners for the look and maintenance of their property in downtown; and preliminary work that was done through the Envision Midway for properties on Pac Hwy in the area of the coming Sound Transit Light Rail.
“He strongly advocated for things that would keep Des Moines a livable community, including the fight against the Third Runway, pushing for improvements to our parks and senior services (including the Des Moines Creek Trail), and support for shifting to a community policing model. Bob Sheckler understood the importance of local community and the need to get people engaged. His Mayor’s Leadership Summits resulted in the creation of Destination Des Moines, and the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers’ Market. It identified long-term needs of the city for controlling our own destiny, many of which have come to pass. And Bob wasn’t afraid to push ahead through the naysayers who wanted nothing to change in town. He was goal oriented for our city, and made things happen.
“My sympathies to Vickie Sheckler and Bob’s dear friends. Our community lost a champion.”
From former Director, Parks & Recreation Patrice Thorell:
“Councilmember Robert Sheckler had vision. He started the Mayor’s Leadership Forums. These forums drew citizen/ community/government leaders from all areas of Des Moines including faith based, condos, neighborhood, civic, and community groups to discuss how to make our community a great place to live, work and play!
“From those meetings came many citizen committees that unified our town and built support to create the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market, Destination Des Moines, City’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, naming the Des Moines Beach Park as a National Landmark, the return of the Waterland Parade, the Hotel/Motel Lodging Tax Citizens Committee and joining the Seattle Southside RTA.
“I know of these successes firsthand because I was fortunate enough to have worked with former Mayor Sheckler and former City Manager Piasecki and the cast of amazing citizens that worked to initiate and implement many of these volunteer-led programs that are still thriving today!
“Bob used his position power to facilitate more positive development and inclusivity for the Des Moines community than any other Mayor since the mid-nineties!”
From former Councilmember Susan White:
“I met Bob in 2000 when I ran for for City Council. Of course little did I know what I was getting myself into! (that’s supposed to be funny lol). Bob was totally devoted to the City and very keen on local politics. We were as most were aligned together against the fight on the third runway. He was very effective as the leader of The Airport Coalition (ACC) uniting Burien, Des Moines, Sea Tac, Normandy Park and Federal Way to find a better alternative. Unfortunately we lost that fight but he never gave up and put tireless energy into that and also the City of Des Moines.
He like myself always had a forward thinking vision for Des Moines. We were always united in that thinking. His heart was always in the right place.
From his wife, Vicki Sheckler:
“Bob deserves acknowledgement for his efforts for all those years, even with all the political controversy.
“He always did what he felt was best for the community, not for himself or his political campaign.
“Rest in Peace, Bob!!! He is finally pain free.”
Tahoma National Cemetery is located at 18600 SE 240th St, Kent, WA 98042: