Cover photo for Michael Burnet Bobbink's Obituary
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1946 Michael Burnet Bobbink 2023

Michael Burnet Bobbink

March 25, 1946 — September 25, 2023


It is with great sadness in our hearts that we share that our beloved Michael Bobbink, husband, dad, grandpa, uncle, brother and friend unexpectedly passed away at his home in Bellingham on September 25, 2023 after a brief battle with cancer.  


Michael’s Formative Years: Michael, the first of four children born to Bob and Doris Bobbink, was born on March 25, 1946 in Bellingham, WA.   It was the family home in Blaine that nurtured so many of the things that would mark Michael’s character, and loves. Born to endlessly curious lovers of books rooted Michael in a keen inquisitiveness for the world around him, a love for learning, and a broad appetite for books on a plethora of topics.


A shared dinner table was the source of discussions about important life matters. Following dinner, the family consistently watched the CBS Nightly News with Walter Cronkite, where the challenges of a broader world were brought into his life through the magic of television. In Michael’s high-school years he attended the United Church of Christ where he was deeply impacted by the pastor’s (Rudy Schnabel) vision, concern, and activism for the poor and the oppressed. The convergence of these types of experiences along with the upheavals of the sixties were shaping influences in Michael’s focuses in his college education, his choice of vocation and his heart for service to others, justice and respect for all.


Michael attended Blaine Schools from Kindergarten to his graduation from High School in 1964. During his High School years “Mike” was an outstanding student, involved in sports (a life-long love – to watch), Science Club, and Theater. In his senior year he was elected Vice-Pres. of his Senior Class and graduated with a clear eye on attending Western WA State College (WWU) and the U of W.  


Michael’s work life began with doing various chores on the family mini-farm, and then broadened out beyond home to berry picking, delivering newspapers, and later crewing on a fishing boat.  Watching his parents live responsibly in their work lives and their expecting him to do the same formed in him his Dutch work ethic that valued principled and dependable work.


Michael will be remembered by his family for his big heart, his sockeye salmon BBQ, being captain of his own boat (both metaphorically and literally), his love for the islands of the Salish Sea (he lived for a number of years on Lummi), his love of gardening, feeding birds, and for so many other things, both great and small.


Michael is survived by his wife, Carol; his children, Maia (Colby) Langenberg, Matthew, and Brittany; his grandson, Eli; his brother Brady (Shirley) Bobbink, sister Lynn (Chuck) Minerich, sisters-in-law Patricia Tullock and Jeanne King; nephews (Jesse, Micah, Seth); nieces (Elisa, Stefany, Stacy); and numerous great nieces and nephews.   He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Stephen. 


Michael’s Work Years Shared By A Co-worker: Judge Michael Bobbink’s career was defined by his commitment to public service and the pursuit of justice. Judge Bobbink received his undergraduate degree from WWU in 1968, graduating Magna Cum Laude.  He majored in Sociology and Anthropology with a minor in Psychology and a second minor in Political Science.  He was awarded his Juris Doctorate from the University of Washington, where he graduated in the top 20th percentile of his class.  He was formally admitted to the Washington State Bar Association in 1978.

Judge Bobbink served in the US Army infantry from 1968 through 1970 with thirteen months oversees in Korea as security officer in a maximum-security area.


He began his legal profession as a sole practitioner from 1979 until he was appointed as the Bellingham Municipal Court Judge.  In 1998 he appointed (now Presiding Judge) Debra Lev as the first female Court Commissioner in Whatcom County.  He served as the municipal court judge for the Cities of Everson and Nooksack from 1991 until 2022.  He served as the presiding judge for Sumas and Blaine from 1990 until his passing on September 25, 2023. Michael served as the land use hearing examiner for Whatcom County from 1996 until he passed.  He was also the hearing examiner for the cities of Oak Harbor and Ferndale, as well as for Island County for thirty plus years.


Judge Bobbink was a dedicated judge, attorney, and teacher.  He had a reputation as a judge who was independent-minded and fair. He took his work seriously and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind clearly and bluntly when necessary.  He was a strong believer in second chances and helped many who couldn’t help themselves.  A defendant who appeared in front of Judge Bobbink years ago sent the court this message.  “He was a good man to me.  My heart is broken.  I’m not the same person that left Blaine in 2017.  Bobbink would be proud of the new and improved me.” He will be sorely missed by his family, those he worked with, and all those he influenced.


A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, 2:00 PM, October 14, 2023 at the Bellingham Yacht Club, 2625 S. Harbor Loop Drive, Bellingham, W
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michael Burnet Bobbink, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Pacific time)

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