William Keel

William Keel

William ‘Bill’ Keel

May 28, 1926 — May 29, 2015

William “Bill” Keel, age 89, died peacefully in Blaine, Washington on Friday, May 29, 2015.

William was born on May 28, 1926, on Orcas Island to John and Norma Keel. He was raised on the family homestead and attended Orcas Island School.

In 1943, at the age of 17, Bill joined the United States Marine Corps. He served in WWII and the Korean War.

His Marine pride was revived when his grandson, Tim, joined the Marines in 2001 “because he always wanted to be just like his grandpa.”

Bill was a brave and loyal marine, proud veteran, as well as a patient and loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend and neighbor.

William met his late wife Vera in the summer of 1950 and they married Nov. 8, 1952. William was deployed to war soon after dating Vera and wasn’t sure he would ever see his precious again. He was lucky to make it home from war.

Soon after marriage, he had four children. Bill worked in Alaska building the Alaskan Highway and the Alaskan pipeline. He worked for the Operating Engineers Union, driving D-8 and building many local roads such as I-5.

But his greatest employment was when he served as a volunteer Lieutenant Fireman for the Marietta Fire Department from 1958 to 1989 and was a proud member of the NRA.

Bill is survived by his caretakers and grandchildren, Timothy and Amanda Stidham, and their children, Caiden and Riley; his daughter Karey (Scott) Stidham; sons Robert Keel and Bradley (Leanne) Keel; grandchildren Nicolle (Shawn), Krissy, Breanna (Greg), Bobbi (Tim), Jamie (Eugene), Jerry and Joshua; great grandchildren Carissa, Haylie, Natalie, Lydia, Ciarra, Tommy, and Gemma; his cousin Bev Keel; and special friends Jim and Lavernne Stephens, Robert Hall, Brent Ebergeson; and many more special friends and relatives.

Bill is preceded in death by his wife Vera; son Gary, who died in infancy; his grandson in-law Bill Corder; parents; and older siblings John and Dorothy.

William will be truly missed by all.

The family would like to thank the staff at Stafholt, North Cascade Cardiology, St. Josephs Emergency Department, Home Attendant Care and Whatcom Hospice. A time of visitation will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., on Friday, June 5, 2015, followed by a 2 p.m. memorial service, both at Gillies Funeral Home.

Burial will be at Olga Bay Cemetery on Orcas Island at 1 p.m., on Monday, June 8, 2015. All family and friends are welcome to attend. You are invited to share your condolences and memories in the online guestbook at www.gilliesfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Lynden. SEMPER FI!

— Family of Bill Keel