1927 – 2017

Michael “Mike” Sokaski passed away December 28, 2017 at age 90. Mike grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Mining Engineering with a specialty in the mining and processing of coal.

Due to a mix-up on birth dates, he was in the service at age 16 during WWII as a B17 radar operator.

Mike conducted research focused on improving the quality of coal especially from Washington mines. He developed a noted method of measuring the viscosity of heavy medium. He published important papers, particularly on heavy media separation of waste from coal. He authored a chapter and co-authored another in the distinguished Seely-Mudd series of technical monographs. Subsequently, Mr. Sokaski earned a Doctorate in Metallurgical Engineering from Oregon State University thereafter conducting research on determining the integrity of iron rope for mine-man hoists.

Beginning in 1978, Dr. Sokaski worked at the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Spokane, contributing to two programs: an inventory of strategic minerals located on Native American reservations, and determining the integrity of iron hoist rope. During the same time period he evaluated Environmental Impact Statements for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and was on loan to the Department of the Interior evaluation of energy protentional of soft coal reserves in Thailand. He also participated with the Corps of Engineers in the placement of MX Missiles for the Atomic Energy Commission.

He retired in 1988 to his beloved home in Medina Washington, where he resided until his passing. A favorite activity that Mike loved was meeting with his friends. Whether it be coffee at Mc Donald’s, or breakfast at Denny’s with his friends Steve, Tony, George and Doug. These times were precious to him.

Dr. Sokaski was a respected engineer who lived an uncomplicated, straightforward life. His principal interests were science with the continual and extensive reading of all scientific literature. He was an antique firearms expert with knowledge of all levels of memorabilia.

Dr. Sokaski loved hiking in the high country either afoot or on horseback. He was an avid bicycle rider, having completed the annual Century Run near Mt. Vernon Washington on four occasions and made two self-guided tours through Europe.

He had a well-developed, but quiet sense of humor. He is preceded in death by his mother and father Michael and Bertha Sokaski of Creekside PA. along with his sister Betty Ann Payne and her husband H. Lamar Payne Jr. of Bethel Park PA. He leaves behind his niece Lynda Herbertson and her husband Barrett Herbertson of Brandon, MS. In addition, his nephew David Payne and his wife Karen along with their son Benjamin. He also leaves two particular friends of long standing, Virginia Rice of Seattle WA along with Paul Sands of Lopez Island, WA.