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William Lee Williams

October 28, 1944 - June 13, 2020

U.S. Veteran

Burial Date June 22, 2020

Funeral Home Woodlawn Funeral Home, Cemetery, & Cremation

Cemetery Woodlawn Funeral Home, Cemetery, & Cremation

Due to the pandemic, a full celebration of Bill’s life will be scheduled for a later date; a small graveside service will be held on Monday, June 22, at Woodlawn Funeral Home.

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William L. (Bill) Williams, 1944-2020

Bill passed early Saturday, June 13 at Providence Saint Peter’s Hospital after a year-long, incredibly brave battle with illness. Family, friends, and community mourn his loss, but treasure and celebrate a life full of wit, warmth, and generosity in time and spirit. He was blessed with the love and friendship of countless friends and the community he served.

Born to Mary Agnes (Marsh) Williams and John Alexander Williams, Sr. during World War II on October 28, 1944, Bill was the first baby born at Kadlec Hospital in Richland, WA, where his family had moved to assist the war effort. After the war, they returned to West Virginia where Bill spent his early years with brothers John and Mike, graduating from White Sulphur Springs High School. For college, Bill followed his elder brother John to Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he met the love of his life, Maxine Lenore Chapnick in the spring of 1966. After a whirlwind summer courtship, the two were wed that fall on October 8, 1966, at the University of Michigan, where both attended graduate school — Bill at the School of Law and Maxine at the School of Social Work — and commenced a lifelong dedication to the Maize and Blue.

Upon graduation in 1969 during the heart of the Vietnam War, Bill enrolled in the Navy, training at the Naval Justice School in Newport, RI, after which he served in the Judge Advocate General Corps from 1970 to 1975, in locations ranging from San Diego, CA to Yokosuka, Japan. Upon completing service in August 1975, Bill and Maxine returned to Bill’s native Washington, settling in Lacey where Bill began a 35-year career with the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Washington, serving as Senior Attorney General for the Departments of Corrections, Health, and Transportation, and successfully arguing two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (Washington v. Harper and Washington v. Glucksberg), and earning recognition from his colleagues and peers in the Angelo Petruss Award for Lawyers in Government Service from the Washington State Bar Association, and the Steward of Justice award, bestowed by then-Attorney General Christine Gregoire.

Not content with one career, Bill took on multiple public service roles almost immediately, starting with the organization of the Tanglewilde Parks District (ensuring the continued operation of the neighborhood pool) and continuing to the North Thurston School Board, where he served 25 years dedicated to improving educational opportunity for all children. Upon retiring from the AG’s office, Bill continued his educational involvement, serving as President of the Washington State School Directors’ Association, on the Board of the National School Board Association, and as the Executive Director for the Washington Parent-Teacher Association.

During retirement, Bill loved to travel with Maxine, beginning with an epic March Madness road trip in spring 2009. Both avid sports fans, they loved to support the University of Michigan and Duke University as well as local sports teams, particularly the Sounders. Together, they cruised the Mediterranean, and the waters of France, Scandinavia, and Alaska; as a lifelong NPR listener, he especially enjoyed the Garrison Keillor cruises.

Bill is survived by his wife Maxine, his brothers Charles Michael Williams of Lewisburg, WV and John Alexander Williams Jr. of Washington DC and New Canaan, CT, daughters Robyn, Rachel, and Lara, sons-in law Jed Stickgold and Alex Benn, and grandchildren Caleb and Lennon Stickgold, Summer Williams, and Sam Benn, all of whom will always remember him as a kind, warm, and loving husband, brother, father, and grandfather.

Due to the pandemic, a full celebration of Bill’s life will be scheduled for a later date; a small graveside service will be held on Monday, June 22, at Woodlawn Funeral Home.

Bill’s family appreciates your love, support and condolences, and suggests (in lieu of flowers) donations to Bill’s favorite cause, the North Thurston Education Foundation (ntef.org) toward a scholarship in his name.