Donald William (Bill) Smith

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Donald William (Bill) Smith, Ferndale, passed away peacefully, July 30, 2016, at Birchview Memory Care in Sedro Woolley. He was 85 years old. Bill was born in Bellingham, Washington on November 7, 1930 to George W. Smith and Ella C. (Pedersen) Smith and lived his entire life within a quarter mile of the family farm in Ferndale. He is preceded in death by his wife, Catherine Jean (Wilson) Smith, his parents, brother Bob, sister Mary Ellen, and granddaughter Alyssa C. Smith. He is survived by his three children; sons John (Cindy), Jeff (Laurie), and daughter Karen Crane and sister Margaret Bird. He also leaves behind six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Bill and Jean were married on December 31, 1950 and moved into a one room shack on three acres of land down the road from the family farm. There they built their house and raised their kids. Bill was a shift electrician at Georgia-Pacific for most of his working career, but also spent time working at the Shipyard and Plywood Mill in Bellingham. As a jack-of-all-trades and master of most, Bill was constantly 'inventing' ways to improve almost everything he could. He created charcoal 'chimneys' before they were on the market and his 'clam guns' were renowned. He and Jean enjoyed traveling in their camper and later a motor home, especially traveling several times a year to Reno. He also loved to fish for salmon both on the Nooksack River and around Orcas Island. Every summer the family would stay at West Beach Resort on Orcas Island to fish for salmon from sunup to sundown. For many years Bill kept an immaculate lawn that resembled a high quality putting green. His entire property had a park-like quality to it. He also mowed and maintained a portion of the family farm along the Nooksack River getting it prepared for the next family picnic at the gravel bar. Bill even roped himself to a tractor as he lowered himself down the steep riverbank to weed-whack. He was greatly appreciated by many fishermen who walked through the property to the river to fish and was sometimes gratefully handed a fish or two. The last few years Bill struggled with Lewy-Body Dementia that took away so much of his memory. In November he was fortunate enough to start living at Birchview Memory Care in Sedro Woolley where he was shown much love and care. During his final days Northwest Hospice also assisted with his care. There are not enough words to express the appreciation the family feels towards the Birchview staff and Hospice. Those wishing to may make a donation in Bill's name may send it to Northwest Hospice at 227 Freeway Dr., Mt. Vernon, WA 98273. At his request there will be no services. A private family gathering will take place at a later date.
Published in Bellingham Herald on Aug. 7, 2016
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