Remembering Pam Vokolek; 1940-2016

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Harp Column is sad to learn that Pamela Campbell Vokolek, age 76, died of cancer on November 5, 2016 on Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Vokolek was harp teacher at the University of Washington School of Music from 1968-2007, during which time she also performed with many area ensembles, including the Seattle Opera, the Seattle Symphony, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. She also served on the board of The American Harp Society.

The above photo was contributed by Carrie Kourkoumelis and pictures Vokolek at her University of Washington retirement party in 2009, with John Carrington and Lynne Palmer.

The following obituary first appeared on the website of the Cook Family funeral home:

Pamela Campbell Vokolek, age 76, died of cancer November 5, 2016 at Madrona House on Bainbridge Island. She was born April 24, 1940 in Seattle, Washington to James A. and Jess Lee (Hall) Campbell. She grew up in Seattle (Madison Park), and graduated from Garfield High School in 1958.

She graduated from the University of Washington in 1962 with a BA in Music (harp), having studied with Lynne Palmer. She was a member of Delta Gamma, serving as chapter president in 1961. In 1965 she earned a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music under Alice Chalifoux. She also studied with Carlos Salzedo in Camden, Maine. While teaching at Western Michigan University, she was harpist for the Kalamazoo Symphony. She next toured as the harpist for the National Ballet Company of Washington D.C.

In 1965 she married William R. Vokolek in Seattle, WA. They moved to Bainbridge Island in 1968, and shortly thereafter bought a Port Blakely mill house in Eagledale. Together they restored the house to its Victorian origins.

She taught harp students at the University of Washington School of Music from 1968-2007, as well as many private students. As a professional harpist, she performed with The 5th Avenue Theater, The Seattle Men’s Chorus, The Seattle Opera, The Seattle Symphony, and The Pacific Northwest Ballet, among others. She served on the governing board of The American Harp Society, and was active in the American Federation of Musicians Local 76-493.

She served on the boards of both the Bainbridge Cooperative Nursery School and The Island School. She supported her daughters’ active years in the Bainbridge Island Pony Club. She grew up loving and riding horses, and enjoyed helping her daughters do the same.

Pamela enjoyed the outdoors. She had a lifelong connection with the Long Beach Peninsula. First visiting as a young girl at the family cabin in Ocean Park, she made regular trips back with family and friends. She was known for waking at daybreak to walk miles on the beach at low tide. At home she grew fruits and vegetables, enjoying all aspects of gardening, harvesting and the ensuing canning, cooking, and baking. She always saved her last jar of strawberry freezer jam for breakfast on Christmas morning. The late winter months found her pruning the apple orchard in preparation for the next growing season.

She is survived by William Vokolek, her spouse of 51 years, daughters Angela Vokolek and Lorraine Vokolek Scott (Brian), and two grandchildren, all of Bainbridge Island, WA. She is also survived by her brother, Jamie Campbell, of Bremerton, WA.

Arrangements will be under the direction of Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island. A memorial will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in her name to an organization of your choice.

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