Bill Sievers departed this life at home, surrounded by music, his beloved wife Patty and daughters Alli and Lindsay, after a courageous and hard-fought 9-year battle with prostate cancer.
Known affectionately by many names: Billy, Dude, Uncle Bill, Wild Willy—he leaves behind a legacy of loving family, community building and Whidbey Island wisdom.
Born Oct. 28, 1944 in Everett to Tordis and Howard Sievers, Bill came into this world much as he went out: as a courageous fighter. He was born prematurely, weighing only 3 lbs 2 ounces, and lived his first 3 months on earth in an incubator. His family speculates that perhaps the attention to nutrition needed to sustain little Bill is what cultivated his fondness for fresh food long before it was popular.
Bill attended Jackson Elementary School and Everett High School. He was a member of the Everett swim team and continued to swim upon entering college at the University of Puget Sound. As a member of the UPS relay team, he earned the distinction of National “Little All American Swimmer.”
In 1965, Bill joined his Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers as they met up for an evening out with a group of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority sisters. At this chance meeting, he met Patty Madson, the young woman who would become his beloved life partner and greatest supporter for the next 49 years. They were married in 1968 in Livingston, Mont.
After graduating from UPS with a business degree, Bill entered the real estate profession, becoming the youngest real estate broker at the time for his company. This experience served him well, as he answered the call in the mid 70s from his father, Howard Sievers, to join him on Whidbey Island to continue the family’s legacy of developing the Useless Bay Community, and its Golf and Country Club.
Bill loved Whidbey Island and was passionate about community building. He co-founded the first Rotary Club on South Whidbey. He served as president of the Island District Economic Development Council and was a “loaned executive” for United Way in Island County. He sat as president of H&H Properties, the family business, spent many years on the finance committee for the Useless Bay Golf and Country Club, and was on the financial board for the South Whidbey Commons.
Nothing was more important to Bill than family. When his two daughters, Allison and Lindsay, were born, he jumped into fatherhood with both feet, supporting his daughters in whatever they were involved in. He taught his daughters by example to love gardening, fishing, crabbing, boating, sports and technology. He coached SWBA basketball and was enthusiastically present for all the girls’ extracurricular activities.
When Bill’s grandson Cedar William was born in 2013, he was overjoyed by his new role as “Grappa.” He spent hours reading animated, carefully selected stories to his enchanted young grandson. Right up to the very end of Bill’s life, they shared a profound connection and understanding of each other.
Some called Bill the “Old Man of the Bay” as he was a generous fountain of wisdom and mentor to many on the rhythms and ways of the waters and shores of Useless Bay. Fishing was a passion and along with crabbing, boating, and golfing, it occupied much of his free time. On his honeymoon, he asked his new bride permission to cut their trip short because he heard from his father that “the kings were biting in the bay.” His smoked salmon recipe and fishing knowledge were legendary among those who knew him.
Bill was deeply touched by and devoted to music. He taught his daughters to play the piano by ear and was an eager member of both the Trinity Lutheran and South Whidbey Community choirs. He was often moved to tears by the sounds of young and old expressing themselves in song.
Bill had an endearing sense of humor and believed in living life with great enthusiasm. In this spirit, his family invites you to join in a reflection on and celebration of Bill’s life on Sunday, May 20, 3 p.m., at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland. A warm reception will follow at Useless Bay Country Club.
Bill is survived by his beloved family: wife Patty Sievers, daughters Alli Jaquith (Satsi) and Lindsay Sievers; grandson Cedar William, sister Carol Olson (Robert), brother Chris Sievers (Jo Anne), brother-in-law Gary Madson (Molly), and a loving circle of nieces and nephews whom he adored.
The family extends gratitude to Whidbey Health Hospice for their exceptional care and to all of their family and friends for their loving kindness and generous support.
In the spirit of community building, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, please consider sending a memorial donation to:
Trinity Lutheran Church Endowment Fund: P.O. Box 97, Freeland, WA 98249, trinitylutheranfree land.org or South Whidbey Commons: P.O. Box 222, Langley, WA 98260, southw hidbeycommons.org