ASTORIA, Ore. (KOIN) — The Astoria community is mourning the loss of a prominent business figure who left a big impact on generations to come.

Skip Hauke passed away on Feb. 17, according to the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce’s post on Facebook. Hauke was the executive director at the chamber from 2005 to 2018.

Steve Fick, who works in the seafood business, said his friend of more than 30 years passed at the age of 78.

“A template for people to live by,” said Fick. “He was always willing to help people. He was very positive with every aspect of his life.”

Hauke owned Hauke’s Sentry Market, which was in business for more than 100 years in two locations, before it was sold to Safeway in 2002, according to the Astorian.

The community leader also founded the Clatsop Economic Development Resources. The organization is a “one stop” business source in the region for business recruitment, retention and expansion, said Clatsop Community College on its website.

Mark Kujala, 51, lives in Warrenton is one of the many people Hauke helped throughout his lifetime.

“He hired me at the chamber of commerce when I was looking for a job,” said Kujala, who now serves on the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners and works as a director for the Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation. “He hired my wife when she was looking for a job, but he did that with a lot of people.”

He added, “People usually do these things because they want to benefit themselves in some way, but Skip did it because he cared about the community, and he wanted everybody to succeed.”

Former Astoria Mayor Willis Van Dusen echoed Kujala’s sentiment calling Hauke a “tremendous” person and his “best friend.”

Van Dusen also served with Hauke on Astoria’s city council and shared that their fathers also served on the same governing body.

“He was quite a jokester, and he had a great sense of humor,” said Van Dusen. “He was a wonderful public speaker. I’ve lived in Astoria my whole life and had the privilege of being the mayor for 24 years, and no one in my lifetime has done more for Astoria and the community than Skip.”

He recalled Hauke’s time as the leader of the chamber, which included changing the business network’s name to include both Astoria and neighboring Warrenton.

This meant that Hauke was able to bring “together (towns) that were on the opposite spectrum,” added Van Dusen.

“I don’t know anybody else that can bring a competing community business area to work together under one chamber,” he said.

According to Fick, if more people were like Hauke, then “We wouldn’t have near as many problems in this world. We could always disagree respectfully. Just a solid human being.”

The Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce said a memorial service would be announced for Hauke at a later time.