Civic leader, former Edmonds City Councilmember Dick Van Hollebeke dies

Dick Van Hollebeke

Former Edmonds City Councilmember and long-time Edmonds resident Dick Van Hollebeke was remembered Monday for his devotion to the city he called home for more than four decades.

Van Hollebeke died Saturday after a prolonged battle with brain cancer. He was 80 years old.

The owner of Van Hollebeke Insurance & Financial Services in Edmonds from 1980 until 2011, Van Hollebeke was on the Edmonds City Council from 1995-1999. He also served on the the Edmonds Community College Foundation Board and the college’s Board of Trustees. The Washington State Association of College Trustees selected him for the 2016 Trustee of the Year Award, citing his leadership and service to the college and students during his 10 years of service from 2005-2015. He also served on the boards of the Edmonds Food Bank and the Edmonds Petanque Club.

“We have lost a treasure,” said Edmonds Food Bank Executive Director Casey Davis. “We send our deepest sympathies to Dick’s family and friends.”

Former Edmonds Mayor and City Councilmember Gary Haakenson served on the council with Van Hollebeke for four years. “He always put Edmonds first and his decision-making was driven by what he felt was the best result for Edmonds citizens,” Haakenson said. “He always tried to find common ground when council couldn’t reach an agreement on a vote. Even after leaving the council he continued to devote his time to the community. He will be missed.”

Former Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling also served on the city council with Van Hollebeke, recalling him as “a very good councilmember, throwing himself into his responsibilities. He was always prepared for meetings and served on outside committees related to council work, looking out for the best interest of the city. Dick was a decent, big-hearted man and it was a privilege to know and work with him,” Earling said.

An avid pentanque player, Van Hollebeke was one of the Edmonds Petanque Club’s first members, said current club President Jack McHenry.

“Dick was involved in the life of Edmonds in many ways, and it was Dick, particularly, who promoted the club’s support of the Edmonds Food Bank, where he had recently also joined the board,” McHenry said. Van Hollebeke was also a key liaison between the club and the Edmonds Parks Department as the city and the club developed and finalized plans for an enlarged petanque grove in the new Civic Park playfield, he added.

Among petanque players, Van Hollebeke will be remembered “for his unbounded enthusiasm, not just for petanque, but for all parts of life, and for the warm welcome that he extended to everyone,” McHenry said. “Dick taught many of us how to play the game, offering encouragement and patience. He loved the club for the challenge of the sport, but most of all for the community of friends who met at the courts. Dick was generous and warm. We have lost a close friend, and the club will miss him tremendously.”

An active member of Edmonds’ Holy Rosary Parish, Van Hollebeke sang in the choir “with his beautiful voice for many years,” Holy Rosary School Principal Sue Venable recalled.

“Dick would always greet you with a huge smile and a “how are you?’” Venable said. “Always showing interest and care for others. He enjoyed life and was very grateful to all around him.”

Van Hollebeke also co-founded the Creative Age Festival of Edmonds (CAFE), which ran for two years — in 2016 and 2017 — offering interactive classes and activities for retirement-aged adults.

“Dick was such a needed light in this community and beloved by so many,” said friend and colleague Carolyn Douglas, who worked with Van Hollebeke on the first CAFE festival.

Van Hollebeke is survived by his wife Monda and their six children.





  1. What sad news. A great loss to Edmonds. Dick Van Hollebeke will be missed. My sympathy goes out to his family.

    1. Dick Van Hollebeke was one of the most inviting persons I’ve ever known. Whenever I was in his presence, he always had a sincere, friendly smile and a hug. I met Dick through my friend, Evelyn Wellington, who is also an active member of the Holy Rosary parish. Yes, all of us who knew Dick will miss him greatly. His loving wife, Monda, was, no doubt, his most fervent supporter, so I extend to her and to their entire family, my genuine sympathy. Together, they have always seemed to me like the ultimate examples of kindness and a happy marriage.

  2. Such a great civic personality hadn’t seen him in quite some time but so remember our times together. He’ll be missed, Edmonds needs more like him. Prayers to the friends and family that were close to him. John 14:27

  3. Dick was a true pleasure to know and was a positive force for our community. I’m very sorry to hear this news. Best wishes to Monda and the family.

  4. Dick talked me into trying to learn how to play petanque and I worked along with him for a time in the local Cold Weather Shelter effort. He’s a man who truly “walked the talk” and personified all that can be good about being a human being. I enjoyed getting the opportunity to toss the steel ball and mop the floors along side of you, Dick. RIP my friend and thanks for a lot of laughter and fun in my precious few encounters with you.

  5. I met Dick through my late husband, David Page, and it was a pleasure to have been acquainted with a wonderful guy. My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

  6. We are very sad to hear about the passing of our friend and neighbor, Dick Van Hollebeke. He was a wonderful person to know, and we will miss seeing his smiling face. Our deepest sympathies to Monda and family.

  7. Dick and I made a commitment some weeks ago after his release from the hospital that we would some day soon sit down on the bench in front of his house and talk about racial injustice issues in our community. I know now that visit will not happen but my memory of his integrity, his passion to learn and engage makes him a forever giant in our mutual desire to lift Beloved Community values among our neighbors. My sincere condolences to his family.

  8. Dick was one of the first and nicest person I met when I moved to town in ’94. His office was near mine at the corner of 5th & Walnut and he was a great local resource. He was a true gentleman and an asset to Edmonds. He will be missed by Nancy and me. This must be a blow to his large family.

    Pity we cannot give him a big sendoff. I am sure Holy Rosary would have been packed in other times.

  9. Dick will be so missed! He gave whole-heartedly to his beloved family and community. He also gave so much to Edmonds College–as an engaged and active Board of Trustee and EdCC Foundation member, hosting many vimeo recordings where community leaders were brought into your living rooms, and the champion of all voices being at the table. Thank you, Dick, for your passion and compassion. My prayers and thoughts are with Monda and the family.

  10. Dick, a truly caring individual, was and will remain a shining example of dedictaed leadership and commitment to Community. He will be missed but NOT forgotten! Our sympathies and prayers go out to family.

  11. I am so sorry to find out about the loss of Dick Van Hollebeke. His advocacy for so many good causes was an asset to our city. We will really miss him. I hope we can find a creative way to honor him in spite of the pandemic.

  12. I met the Van Hollebeck family when they employed me as their Office Manager. Dick was so full of energy. He had an infectious laugh and a great sense of humor. He was so very patient with me while I was learning the ropes. And Monda, so gracious. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  13. I am shocked and sad about this information. I have met Dick Van Hollebeke and his wife/co-worker Monda
    when I moved to Edmonds in 1990. He was so kind as a business person and fun as a passionate swimmer at
    Yost. I remember when I shared a lane with him and could definitely not keep up with him! I will miss him and
    feel for his family.

  14. I met Dick and Monda during the infamous “save Yost Pool” Council meeting. Wild meeting with signs and local media. He was such an excellent and compassionate voice for any project he tackled and I voted for him when he ran for the Mayoral appointment. He called whenever he had issues and I thoroughly enjoyed his candor, intelligence, humor, financial acumen and love that he had for his family and grandkids. He always had that twinkle in his eye and smile on his face and he will be missed. I should have taken him up on that pétanque lesson as he always asked.

    Monda, my heart goes out to you and your family and deepest sympathy for your loss. Edmonds certainly was a better place because of him and all those people he touched with his spirit of adventure and wisdom.

  15. Monda, I am truly sorry for your loss. You had a long and terrific bond with a unique individual. I admired his strength, his swimming and pétanque passions.

    I met Dick through the Chamber of Commerce and City Council activates. He would call me to let me know his point of view on Council agenda items.

    He was also a strong promoter for Community College activities. He invited me to the annual dinner and races. He organized a breakfast at Edmonds Community College for Business owners in the Edmonds International district to foster understanding and communication. He was also promoting his new venture called the Creative Age Festival of Edmonds -CAFE.

    Dick was a great gardener, a devoted husband, a strong democrat and a decent human being. I will miss you and the ride in your new Tesla but I am happy for the life that you have led. You are an example to all of us to have an open heart and a smile. It was nice knowing you. Good bye. God Bless You.

  16. God created a beautiful soul in Dick Van Hollebeke. He welcomed us to Edmonds in 1987 by helping our family friend install bookshelves in our new home. Frank and I grew to know and love him and Monda through our mutual love of church, music, food and community. He graciously agreed to serve as the first chair of the DeMiero Jazz Fest Board in spite of his busy life. I have such fond memories of costuming him for his Sno-King Chorale role as the curmudgeon “Scrooge “ My family, along with the community, will miss this wonderful man. Love to Monda and your lovely family.

  17. Dick was such a positive leader in our city that I tried to learn whatever I could from him. He and Monda were great supporters in all of my campaigns. I’ll truly miss him. RIP, you’ll be missed.

  18. My condolences to the Van Hollebeke family and friends. Dick was a spirited wonderful individual who was dedicated to community service and made this community a better place to live. Although he is gone we all have benefited from his work and knowing him. Between the years of 2012- 18 Dick produced over 75 programs for the Civic Engagement and Inside Edmonds Community College series, part of the college’s Arts, Culture and Civic Engagement Initiative. These programs are posted online and available for viewing .

  19. I will miss “swimming Dick’s age” on his birthday at Yost pool, where we swam a full lap (down AND back!) for each year Dick had been on the planet. 160 lengths takes about an hour and a half at our pace, and the soak in the hot tub afterward only partially revived us. His was a life well lived — one lap at a time.

  20. I met Dick when I joined the Board of Trustees at Edmond’s College. He quickly offered his mentorship to me and became such a positive influence in my life, my journey to Woke, and my future, even though I was way past my prime… His whistle skills impressed me, his knowledge of the college, the student pulse, and life in general were such eye openers for me. It has taken me this long to write these words. My heart and sadness extend to Monda, such a force in her own right, and their children. He would be proud today to see his ‘Zags in the finals. Heaven got a council member and I lost a friend.

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