READY FOR HIBERNATION – Matthew Brechl wears a bear suit and pushes a jogger as he races in last weekend's 10 K WhaleFest Run on Sawmill Creek Road. More than 100 runners turned out for the event. The annual WhaleFest included a well-attended marine science symposium with participants from the University of Alaska, Penninsula College and Fort Lewis College, a film festival, an art show, a whale watching tour, a market, a banquet, a concert and a variety show. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Billie Mae Eder

Billie Mae Eder

Billie Mae Eder, the first woman to serve as a Kitsap County (Washington) commissioner and a pioneering force for environmental and land use regulation, died Feb. 4 from dementia. She was 90 years old.
She was born in Sitka, where her father, William Haynes, was serving in the U.S. Navy. Her mother, Mary, named her for actress “Billie” Burke, who played Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, in “The Wizard of Oz.”
Her father was transferred to a number of Navy postings, ultimately Seattle, where she went to work at the Puget Sound Navy Yard. She met Dan Eder, who also worked there, and they were married in 1954. They had two daughters, Darcie and Kathie.
Bremerton was their home for nearly 60 years, and they were longtime members of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church there.
She got into politics when a track of trailer residences was built near her home at Kitsap Lake, without any planning for such density. After sewage began running down area streets, she got neighbors together for a march on city hall.
She held a seat on the planning commission, at first, then was appointed a county commissioner in 1988; two years later she was elected to a four-year term. Known as a centrist Democrat, she garnered respect from both sides of the political aisle.
The Eders lost their daughter, Kathie, in a tragic accident in the surf at Ocean Shores in 1972. Soon after, she ran successfully for county treasurer, and served for 10 years.
No matter what stage of life, Eder was happy to engage in political conversation, her daughter said.
“She didn’t have any problem sharing her political beliefs,” her daughter said. “She made no bones about how she felt.”
Following the death of her husband in 2005, she moved to Lone Tree, Colorado, to be with her daughter, Darcie, and grandchildren, and lived there the rest of her life.
Eder will be buried with her husband at Forest Lawn Cemetery in West Bremerton.

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