Jonathan Hartke Passed Away

Jonathan Hartke, a beloved husband and father, passed away, in Ferndale, WA, in April 2019.  

Jonathan was born in Canoga Park, California, in June 1963, to parents Richard Earl Hartke and Sandra Louise Dixon.

Jonathan is survived by his wife of 33 years, Deborah, daughters Jennifer and Katherine of Seattle, son Richard and daughter Elizabeth of Ferndale, mother Sandra of San Diego, and brother Jeffery of Los Angeles.

Jonathan spent most of his years growing up in California, then moved to Washington state for his senior year of high school.  Returning to California, he landed in Santa Cruz, where he met and married Deborah.  At UCSC, he earned his BA in English Literature as well as his teaching credential.  

Moving to San Diego, Jonathan taught for 15 years, working in grades k-6.  He always said that being a teacher helped him be a better father and being a father helped him be a better teacher.  One of the things he loved best about teaching in San Diego was working with the diverse population of students, representing so many cultures.  

Jonathan always wanted to return to Washington, and eventually transferred to Maple Valley.  There he taught 4th grade at Rock Creek Elementary for 12 years.  He was lovingly supported by the children and families of the community.  To each of his students he made the commitment “once you’re my student, you’re always my student”.   He continued to hear from students through emails and letters, including a letter just a few weeks ago.  These have meant so much to him.

A man who loved to learn and explore, Jonathan sailed to Hawaii while he was in high school, later returning to live and surf in Honolulu.  An avid hiker, Jonathan hiked the wonderland trail, around Mnt. Rainier, and later summited the mountain.  Jonathan enjoyed traveling to other countries; France, England, Germany, Scotland, Switzerland.  

For the last two and a half years Jonathan had been battling stage four cancer.  Although he may not have been scaling mountains or traveling recently, his endless optimism, enduring strength of will, and love of life continued to surprise and inspire those around him.  There have been many around us praying for a miracle.  Thank you, we accept the miracles that each day has given us.  Although it is never enough, we appreciate the 2 and a half years we’ve had to say “I love you” as we say good-bye.

Community members who would like their chance to say good-bye are welcome to visit our home for an open house memorial.  Come any time between 1:00 and 4:00 on Saturday, June 15th; 6155 Glacier Place in Ferndale.  For questions, contact Deborah at 425.591.4379.

This Life

These eyes would see the glimmer, glinting of the dawn’s virgin snow.

These hands would hold those of our loves and the loves to come.

These legs would lift what needs the labor.

These feet would carry a life through the world and back again.

These things that become me are all I have and all I can give.

Mine and not mine, these are for you.

When you tire and rest, I take you with me.

Our being becomes braided. 

So, close your eyes.

Release your hold.

This life will carry on,

Through worlds beyond our grasp.


Deborah Hartke

For my loving husband, Jonathan