Centennial Remembrance – 1951 Line of Duty Death – Patrolman Ivan L. Belka

August 18, 2021

The eleventh Washington State Patrol officer to fall was Ivan Lye Belka, who had served with the agency for over eight years before his untimely death, when his patrol car was hit by another vehicle in Spokane in 1951.

Born in Oregon and raised in the Poulsbo area, Patrolman Belka had also served in the Port Angeles Police Department, Pierce County Sherriff’s Office, and the National Auto Theft Bureau in Seattle. As a husband and father, he died at the age of 38.

We remember….


Ivan L. Belka was born on April 8, 1913 in Coos Bay, Oregon, to Herman A. Belka and Lilly May Abernathy. As one of five children, he grew up in the Poulsbo area and attended North Kitsap High School.

In his early adulthood, Belka worked in the sawmill division of a Port Angeles pulp mill. He later served in the Port Angeles Police Department and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. He married Mary Enos in Port Townsend in 1933 and the couple welcomed their son Ronald in 1936.

Belka began his career with the Washington State Patrol on December 20, 1941 as a radio operator in Port Angeles. In 1942 he moved to Vancouver, where he was deployed as a patrol officer on March 23, 1942 and posted to Kelso. Later that year, on June 5, in Spokane, he married his second wife, Jean Elizabeth Bower, a nurse.

In April 1948, Patrolman Belka resigned from the Patrol to work with the National Auto Theft Bureau in Seattle. Patrolman Belka returned to WSP in March 1949 and moved to Colville as an outpost patrolman.


Washington State Highway patrolman Ivan L. Belka was tragically killed on Saturday, August 18, 1951. He died of his injuries when a vehicle failed to give way to Patrolman Belka’s patrol car. At the time of his death, Patrolman Belka had served with the Washington State Patrol for 8-1 / 2 years. He was 38 years old.

Patrolman Belka had a son, Ronald, who was only 14 years old at the time of his father’s death. At the time, Patrolman Belka was living in Colville. He was going to Spokane that day to have the radio on his patrol car repaired, and he intended to take Ronald with him. When Ronald woke up that morning, excited about driving into town, he found that his father had already left. Ronald waited all day for his father to return, only to sadly realize that his father would never come home. Ronald died on December 14, 2009. Ronald and his wife Barbara had four children (Ronda, Ron Belka, Jr., Avery, and Aaron). Aaron Belka died in 2015 at the age of 41. Ronda, Ron Jr., and Avery live in California.

The Washington State Patrol commemorates Ivan Belka with appreciation for his long service in law enforcement and his dedication to family and duty. He left not only a son waiting for his father to return from an unfortunate journey, but also a state and authority afflicted and weakened by the loss of a fine person and official. We remember…

Washington State Highway Patrolman Ivan Lye Belka
Observation ended – August 18, 1951
Gone but never forgotten

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