Vance Bakke, age 50, was called to his heavenly home on June 25, 2014 after a courageous battle with Brain Cancer. He passed peacefully at home with his wife by his side.

Vance Jerome Bakke was born on November 5, 1963 in Grand Forks, ND the son of Jerome and Vicky (Machovsky) Bakke. He was baptized, received his First Communion and Confirmed at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Larimore. He grew up in Larimore and graduated from Larimore High School in 1982, being an avid wrestler throughout his entire grade school and high school career. He often bragged “I never got pinned!”  His first passion as he got older was flying airplanes with his Dad, receiving his private/commercial pilot’s license in November 1983 and his Ag-Pilot License in April 1991 under the direction of his Father…his mentor for many years to come. He attended Crookston College and Thief River Falls Technical College. He was an Ag-Pilot for 30 years and had earned the trust and respect of other pilots all over the United States. He flew in many states, sharing his talents and respect for the aviation industry. His relentless pursuit of excellence was evident in the success he had in all phases of his life. He also had his CDL license and drove truck in the off-season. His colleagues consistently described him as one of the “best in the business!” Vance was very well known for his sense of humor, and was the first to play a joke on anyone. His kind and generous heart will never be forgotten by those who knew and loved him.

Vance married his soul mate, Kelley, on February 14, 1998…where he happily gained 4 boys. Vance and Kelley had one more son together – Trace. Vances greatest joy in life was spending time with his 5 sons and his nieces and nephews. Vance always made sure he was the best son, brother, husband, dad, and uncle he could be. His happiest times were when he was flying, hunting, attending motocross events and wrestling tournaments. He was especially proud of his 5 sons, nieces and nephews and cherished every moment he had with them.

While those of us left to mourn his loss think his departure was much too soon, we are confident in an on-time arrival in heaven and we know he has planned and packed well for his final journey.

Vance is survived by his wife, Kelley of Kindred, ND; his children Dustin (Emily) Schmidt of Grand Forks, ND; Darrin Schmidt, Niagara, ND; Michael Schmidt II, Niagara, ND; Cole Schmidt, Larimore, ND; and Trace Bakke at home; mother, Vicky Bakke (Larimore, ND); Grandmother Sheila Machovsky (Grafton, ND); sisters, Lisa (Joe) Davis, Cheney, WA; Lana (Matt) Wallis, Sanford, FL; brothers, Jason (Lisa)  (Caldwell, ID); Stacy (Larimore, ND); Nieces and nephews; Jessie Katie and Billy, Amanda, Sayde and Morgan, McKenna, Daniel, Nic, Alex, Zac and Dalton, Great Niece, Eily, numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. Also special to his heart was Brittney and Logan. 

Waiting patiently for his arrival and ready to meet him at the gates are his paternal grandparents, Vance and Doreen Bakke, maternal grandfather, Laddie Machovsky, his adored father, Jerry and cousins Michael Thorsell and Andrew Bakke

View current weather.

Memories Timeline

View the Timeline


  1. Fargo ND
    Kelley, I am so sorry for the loss of Vance. It was a privilege to pray with him in the hospital. I have thought of you and Vance and your boys often and said a prayer every time. I will continue to lift you all up in prayer. You will meet again! Peace, Kari

  2. Moorhead MN
    We are so sorry about Vance. We enjoyed you the short time we had at Tech, wrestling with you guys.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    John, KaSaundra, Gunnar and Jack Olstad

  3. Grand Forks North Dakota
    Dear Family, Our Sympathy goes out to all of you in this difficult time! We hope you find Comfort in the days to come!

  4. Kelley, so sorry to hear of Vance’s passing. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Take care.

  5. Southern Pines NCI am so sorry for your loss. Vance was an incredible person, and such a huge part of my child hood. There are no memories that there is not a Bakke in it. He will be sorely missed.

    Kasie Linnell Miller

  6. Belle Plaine Minnesota
    We are so glad to have met and known Vance and Kelley. You were awesome neighbors, and we had tons of fun together. Knowing someone like Vance was very special, as he taught us how to treat others. He was gentle, kind and funny. He will always be remembered by the Littlepages.

  7. Larimore ND
    So sorry to the Bakke family to hear of his passing. I have known Vance my whole life, as we were classmates graduating in 1982. He was a very kind and gentle man. He will be missed by many. Just know that he is no longer hurting and will be watching over you until you meet him again.


  8. Palm Desert CAThanks Vance for being a friend and mentor during my first season of spraying. I became a much better pilot because of you and I am grateful for all the times you recommended me to operators who hired me. God bless and God speed.

  9. Maricopa AZ
    Sending love and prayers to you all during this difficult time. We all loved Vance. He was one of the great ones. He will be greatly missed.

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Sign the Guestbook