Kenneth Pekola, loving father, family member, accomplished community banker and wonderful friend, passed away on July 4, 2022 the result of a tragic auto accident. Ken grew up in Aberdeen and after graduating from Aberdeen High School in 1980 he went on to Grays Harbor Community College where he graduated in 1982. He then earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in 1984. A proud Husky fan, Ken continued his education at UW’s Foster Graduate School of Business, graduating with honors from the esteemed Pacific Coast Banking School in 2006.
Ken’s impressive career in local banking spanned over 37 years and included time with Timberland Bank, Anchor Bank, Thurston First and Olympia Federal Savings (OlyFed). A leader in the local banking and business community, Ken held many Vice President and Senior Vice President level positions, which included managing branches and teams across the South Sound and Grays Harbor County markets.
Very notably, Ken was the Chief Credit Officer for Thurston First Bank, where he was integral in projects we know today as the Hands on Children’s Museum, Salish Cliffs Golf Course and Washington’s beach town, Seabrook. Most recently, he was a part of the senior management team at OlyFed, where he was instrumental in aiding in the start and expansion of the bank’s Commercial Lending Division.
At OlyFed, Ken continued to support numerous large-scale housing projects, like Merritt Manor, an 80-unit affordable housing community and the Lurana, a three-story mixed-use project on Olympia’s Percival Landing. In fact, Ken was passionate about creating opportunities for businesses and people to thrive and this was evident in his time on the Board of Directors with organizations like Homes First and Friends of the Olympia Farmers Market. Ken’s efforts to help revitalize and support the economic development of downtown Olympia were simply tremendous.
A well-respected business leader amongst his peers and colleagues, Ken had the vision and perspective to see the big picture, but also the knowledge and patience to work through the complex details of large-scale financing projects. A servant leader, Ken epitomized kindness and compassion and he was always accessible when needed. Ken believed in having fun and was a great listener, who always provided solid advice and ideas. His optimistic and steady influence was critical in helping build a culture of trust and respect everywhere he worked.
In his free time, Ken loved being part of the Corvette De Olympia Club, traveling and spending time with his daughter Payton, volunteering in the community and working around his home in Rochester.
Saturday, July 16, 2022 • 1:00 p.m.
Central Park Neighborhood Church in Aberdeen, WA