As this harvest season came to its close, William R (Bill) Williams passed on to start a "new chapter", as he put it, on September 22, 2020.
Bill was born in Cicero (near Arlington), Wash., on February 27, 1923 to Hal and Lillian Williams. He helped on his family owned "Williams Turkey Farm" on Camano Island, raising, processing and distributing fresh turkeys throughout the Pacific Northwest.
He married Erna Thomle and ran her family's dairy farm, (Thrudvang Farms) on the Thomle Road in Stanwood. They raised two children, Rick and Debbie on the farm, and in 1958 they became the first awarded Dairy Family of the Year for Snohomish County. Along with dairy, he ventured into growing locally processed crops and various seed crops.
Bill's life revolved around farming, he kept detailed journals from early spring work to the last harvest load from the field. He truly loved being a crop farmer and he kept involved right up to the end of his life. Earlier he had added a second job to his portfolio, a field representative for Twin City Foods, Inc., which he thoroughly enjoyed. He met so many other farmers in the Skagit County area and became very good friends with many of them, all while still tending to his own crops along with son, Rick. Williams Farms continues on today through the next two generations of Rick and Garrett Williams and their families.
He was a very active volunteer in the Stanwood community; serving on the Stanwood School Board, Masons, various agricultural boards, and Lyons Club (where he cooked lutefisk for their infamous dinners). He was also a long time volunteer at the Stanwood Fire Department and active at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church.
He had many friends young and old, who enjoyed sharing stories and easy conversations, always including a good dose of humor.
Bill was a fair and generous man, who possessed a positive outlook on life. He looked for the best in others and happy to lend a hand whenever needed. He had a kind and easy spirit, making him very comfortable to be around, never expecting to be made a fuss over, but very appreciative of any gesture given his way. He was loved by all those who knew him and had the pleasure of spending time with him.
Bill was preceded in death by his older brother Don (Bud) Williams, sister Helen Tierney, his wife Erna of seventy years, and his grandson Todd William McClure.
He is survived by his sister Bettyjean Seabury, his two children; Rick (M'Lisse) Williams and Debbie (Jeff) McClure, Grandchildren; Sarah (Adam) Grohs, Garrett (Mellisa) Williams, and Britta McClure (Trey Johnson), Great Grandsons; Leif, Grayson, Olin Williams and great-granddaughter; Madison Grohs, also three nieces and a nephew.
On behalf of Bill and our family, a great appreciation and gratitude goes out to Dr. Jafari and the medical staff at Skagit Cancer Center, the caregivers at Brookdale in Stanwood, and those from Hospice of the Northwest. All who performed their professional duties with such compassion, warmth and humor, just the right prescriptions for Dad.
Thank you to his church family and friends who kept him in their thoughts and prayers these past months, and especially to Dr. Dave Ashbaugh who was his vigilant and devoted friend right to the end.
Bill is, and forever, will be missed. He was a very bright spot in our lives and will always be thought of often with smiles and laughs.
In lieu of flowers the family has designated Hospice of the Northwest (227 Freeway Dr. Suite A, Mount Vernon, WA 98273) and Our Saviour's Lutheran Church Building Fund (27201 99th Ave. NW, Stanwood, WA 98292) for contributions.
Due to COVID-19, we are unable to gather for a memorial service, but plan for a small family gathering for interment.
Arrangements under the direction of Gilbertson Funeral Home in Stanwood.