It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved mother Carolee “Chickie” Bakkemo who departed from this world on September 23, 2023 after a long, well fought battle with COPD and Pulmonary Hypertension. Chickie shuffled off this mortal coil with her son Christopher at her side and leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of love, kindness, and cherished memories that will forever live in our hearts.
Born on January 21, 1941, in Fargo North Dakota, Chickie was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and dear friend. Her life was a testament to her unwavering commitment to family and community. She touched the lives of many with her warmth, compassion, intelligence, and boundless generosity.
After obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree from North Dakota State University, Chickie moved to Denver Colorado to pursue a career as a Medical Technologist/Clinical Laboratory Scientist (MT/ASCP) working for several major city hospitals (her favourite of course being Mercy Hospital). An expert in her field, Chickie was adept in running multiple departments including Hematology, Chemistry, Immunology, and Blood Banking all while providing education and guidance to countless Med Techs, Residents, and Nurses over her 50-year career.
Musically talented, Chickie played viola in the Fargo Moorhead symphony then played in Denver with Dr Antonia Brico’s Symphony Orchestra which later became the Colorado Symphony.
Another musical experience was with the Colorado Opera, Chickie sang in many productions including Tosca, Lucia de Lammermoor, Romeo and Juliet, and La Boehme.
Steadfast in her faith, Chickie sang in her church choir for many years and volunteered as a scripture lesson reader for Sunday services.
Volunteering also took the form of partnering with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where she worked in the foreground department creating realistic plants, leaves, insects, and small creatures. To this day there still exists an active exhibit of a termite mound at the DMNS. Chickie meticulously created the termites and termite eggs for this display.
Chickie was a longtime member of Kappa Kappa Gamma national sorority, was a column contributor to the Fargo Forum newspaper, volunteered as a Literacy Tutor for Colorado Literacy Action, worked tirelessly on a Colorado gubernatorial campaign and was proud to have served as a Colorado State Election Judge.
With a career spanning over 50 years in the medical field, Chickie believed in preparedness at all levels. For example:
Notably, Chickie had a strong connection with people and a genuine interest in the lives of those around her. She could regale you with stories about the individuals who walked her dog, delivered her groceries, cleaned the gutters, serviced her sprinklers etc. During one visit she told Chris that the street crew would be blocking her driveway at 3pm and they might be early because the foreman needed to get home for a family event. When Chris inquired how she knew this, she informed him she had seen the road crew setting up the day prior, had walked down to chat with them and learned many things about these hard-working people and their families.
Most importantly, Chickie was an extraordinary mother who kept hearth and home together by any means, in any circumstance. Through good times and bad, Chickie provided unending love, care, and support to her children and grandson. For this we can never hope to be grateful enough.
Chickie Bakkemo is preceded in death by her son Andrew Scott Bakkemo LCpl USMC, her father Harry R. Arneson and her mother Mildred L. Arneson.
Chickie is survived by her son Christopher Bakkemo, daughter in law Shelley Bakkemo, grandson Oz Thomas Andrew Bakkemo, her loyal dog Ollie, daughter Jocelyn Bakkemo-Brookens, son-in-law Paul Brookens, sisters Cindy Eddy and Patty Corwin as well as many dear cousins, nephews, nieces and friends.
Chickie’s life was a symphony of love, service, and resilience, and her memory will forever resonate in the hearts of those she touched. She will be dearly missed but never forgotten.
Memorial services will be held on Friday October 20th, 2:30pm, at Augustana Lutheran Church in the Christ Chapel. Interment in the Augustana Memorial Garden immediately follows the service.
5000 East Alameda Avenue Denver, CO 80246 (303) 388-4678. Suggested attire: Please be comfortable, your presence is more important than your wardrobe.
A celebration of life reception will be held following the service (4pm-6pm) at ELWAY’S Steakhouse, 2500 East First Avenue Unit 101 Denver, CO 80206 (303)399-5353)
If unable to attend the service and interment please feel free to attend the celebration only.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations in Chickies name to any of the following charitable entities.
Denver Dumb Friends League
The Prop Shop Eden Prairie
Augustana Lutheran Church Denver