Wallace Botsford

Wallace Botsford

Wallace Edward Botsford

March 9, 1938 — March 25, 2015

Wallace Edward Botsford passed away peacefully on March 25, 2015.

A beloved husband, father and grandfather, Wally will be remembered as an energetic man who cared greatly for his family, had a quick wit and felt most at home fishing the waters of southeast Alaska.

Wally was born on March 9, 1938, to Helen and Wallace Botsford. He and his younger sister Bonnie were raised in Friday Harbor, where his father was a logger and worked at the lime kiln and his mother was a teacher. His family also raised turkeys, dairy cows and sheep on their large San Juan Island property.

After graduating from Friday Harbor High School in 1956, Wally attended Western Washington University, where he earned a teaching degree. It was also at Western that Wally met the love of his life, Jane Edgerton, at a school dance. The two married on Nov. 4, 1959, and had three children together, Patricia, Michael and Sandra.

Wally taught high school math, woodshop and drawing for almost a dozen years, but his passion always lied in fishing. He began working on commercial salmon fishing boats in southeast Alaska at the young age of 15, and he continued to fish each summer through college and while teaching in Stanwood. He eventually purchased his own boat, a seiner called the Golden North, in 1969, and owned several more boats over the course of his career as a fiery but successful skipper. He named one of his boats, The Lady Jane, after his wife.

Wally retired in 1999 for health reasons, after more than four decades of fishing. He sorely missed being in the wheelhouse, but hardly kept still during his retirement. He could constantly be found doing work and projects at his home in Bellingham, where he and Jane moved a dozen years ago. He also began a legacy of fishing in his family—his two daughters both met their husbands on fishing boats and all five of his grandsons would spend time commercial fishing.

After his parents’ passing, Wally continued to maintain his family’s property in Friday Harbor, a 20-acre partly wooded swath overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains. He felt a deep connection to the place and even lived there with Jane for a couple years before the two purchased Jane’s grandparents’ former home in Bellingham, which also looks out on the water.

Wally is described by those who knew him as a hard worker and a fighter, even as he battled illness toward the end of his life. He spent his final days in Bellingham surrounded by family and loved ones.

Wally was preceded in death by his sister Bonnie Barsness. He is survived by his wife, Jane Botsford, and three children, Patricia Botsford Martin (Daniel Martin), Michael Botsford (Robyn Botsford) and Sandra Johns (Steven Johns). He is also survived by his grandchildren, Nicholas and Gabe Martin, Tristan Botsford, and Jess, Rachelle and Justin Johns.

A service for Wally will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at Saint James Presbyterian Church in Bellingham. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in his name to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Share your thoughts of Wally by signing the online guest register at www.hawthornefh.com. Arrangements are under the care of Hawthorne Funeral Home, Mount Vernon, Wash.

— Family of Wally Botsford