Community bids farewell to a ‘founding father’

Ken Hermanson, known as a “founding father” of Silverdale, died May 20.  - Courtesy photo
Ken Hermanson, known as a “founding father” of Silverdale, died May 20.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Silverdale lost one of its “founding fathers” last weekend.

Ken Hermanson died of a heart attack May 20 at Harrison Medical Center Bremerton with his immediate family members by his side. He was 77 years old.

“He helped build this community with a lot of other people,” said Hank Mann-Sykes, one of Hermanson’s best friends.

Hermanson was Mann-Sykes’s mentor and good friend. The two spoke every week for more than 15 years.

“He was a kind, sweet, gentle man who didn’t have a mean bone in his body,” Mann-Sykes said.

Hermanson, a North Dakota native, moved to Silverdale in 1973 to open Suburban State Bank. Under Hermanson’s leadership, the bank flourished.

“He took his commitments very seriously,” said Sara Lindberg, Hermanson’s daughter. “He was so passionate about the bank and Silverdale.”

Hermanson had a 40-year career in banking and finance. He retired from Kitsap Bank in 1997. He loved supporting entrepreneurs and financing their business dreams.

“His favorite thing to do was find out what someone wanted to do and make it work,” said Troy Hermanson, Hermanson’s son.

Hermanson and Shirley Casteel became best friends while working together at Kitsap Bank. Hermanson loved to walk around Silverdale and talk to community members.

“We both could stand on a street corner and talk to strangers,” Casteel chuckled.

Lindberg recalls many times her and her father could not walk five feet without him stopping to talk to someone.

“As a teenager it drove me nuts to go to the mall with him because he knew everybody,” Lindberg said with a smile. “He’d talk to anybody.”

Hermanson and Casteel would eat lunch together at least once a month to maintain close ties.

“I’m going to miss our lunches, laughter and teasing,” Casteel said. “We’d just carry on like two kids.”

Hermanson was very active in the Silverdale community. He was a member of the Silverdale Rotary for 23 years and a past president of the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce. He also was a member of the Silverdale Lutheran Church.

“He did so much for so many people and brought many businesses into the community,” Mann-Sykes said.

Hermanson was awarded the Paul Linder award from the Chamber of Commerce multiple times and named Citizen of the Year by the Kitsap County Association of Realtors.

Hermanson loved Silverdale and believed it was a great community.

“It was a homegrown town and he loved that,” Troy Hermanson said. “He loved the small town feel.”

When his children came home from college or friends came to visit, Hermanson enjoyed driving them around Silverdale and showing them the growth in the area.

“I’m going to miss not knowing Silverdale anymore,” said Jay Hermanson, Hermanson’s son. “This is where I grew up and I’m not going to know it.”

Hermanson’s memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at Silverdale Lutheran Church on Ridgepoint Drive.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, 710 Second Ave., Suite 900, Seattle WA 98104 and the Alzheimer’s Association, Western and Central Washington State Chapter, 12721 30th Ave. NE, Suite 101, Seattle WA 98125.

“I’ve always been very proud to be his daughter,” Lindberg said. “A lot of history was lost with him.”

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