Harold Karl Bakken, age 77, of Madison passed away from a tragic motorcycle accident on May 7, 2023 just outside of Lodi, Wisconsin. He was born on February 24, 1946 in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of Gunnar and LaVerne (nee Felland) Bakken. He graduated from Central High School in 1965 and began his carpentry apprenticeship until he was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving three years with the Army Corps of Engineers. After his time in the Army, he returned to Madison and met his loving wife of 52 years, Patricia (nee Roach) Bakken. They were married on June 13, 1970 at Pleasant Valley Church in Oak Hill, Wisconsin. Harold and Pat made a home in Madison and raised three children; Tricia (Tom) Janssen, John (Tracey) Bakken, and Susan (Bryan) Lanier. Harold was a carpenter for Kenneth F. Sullivan Co. for over 40 years and was a proud lifelong union member of Carpenters Local 314.
Harold had a love for anything that had a motor. He began riding motorcycles before he could even drive a car and took many cross-country trips with his brother, Gunny. Racing midget cars at Angell Park Speedway fulﬁlled a childhood dream, and he raced from 1988 until 1999, including many years with his son. His love of trains began as a young boy, and he attended many train conventions as a member of the Milwaukee Road Historical Association. Boating on Lake Mendota, going to car shows, attending many EAA Air.
Shows, gardening, decorating the outside of the house for every holiday, and woodworking in his workshop kept him busy all year long. The ﬂag of Norway was proudly displayed around his home to show his pride in his Norwegian heritage. Along with his deep love of his family and friends, Harold’s other love was his dogs; Ingrid, Tundra, Rory, Tunny, Tai, Lacee, and Nikita.
He is survived by his devoted wife Pat and their children, six grandchildren; Stephanie Janssen, Michael Janssen, Martin Bakken, Meghan Hebgen, Ryan Hebgen, and Ellen Hebgen, brother Gunnar, nephew Thomas (Amber) Bakken and their children; Owen and Elsie, and many, many friends and extended family members. He was preceded in death by his parents, in-laws, and sister-in-law. A visitation to celebrate Harold’s life will be on Friday, June 2 at 10am at Cress Funeral & Cremation Services (3610 Speedway Rd, Madison, WI 53705), with funeral services at 11am and burial with full military honors at Forest Hill Cemetery (1 Speedway Rd, Madison, WI 53705) immediately following the service. There will be a luncheon following the burial at the funeral home at 12:30pm.
Harold touched the lives of all that he encountered. He will be most remembered for his kind and generous nature, his infectious laugh, and his devotion to his friends, family and hobbies. He was a husband, father, grandfather, son, uncle, father-in-law, cousin, racer, union member, neighbor and friend to so many. We will all miss him very much. A special thank you to the Arlington ﬁrst responders and UW Med Flight. Due to their timely and caring response to the accident, Harold was able to fulﬁll his wishes of being an organ and tissue donor.
Enjoy drinking your Coke in heaven Dad, we will share one with you again someday.
In lieu of ﬂowers, please consider a donation to Playing Again Sams of Wisconsin (Wisconsin Samoyed Rescue www.samoyed-rescue.com ), an organization in which Harold and Pat are extremely passionate and involved.