Willis “Bill” Bigelow
July 23, 1923 ~ December 28, 2013
Willis “Bill” Bigelow, 90, passed away December 28, 2013. Bill was born on the Bigelow homestead above Howard Flats, near Chelan, WA, on July 23, 1923, to Frank and Ruth (Boyle) Bigelow. Bill was the second youngest child of Frank and Ruth’s eight children. Bill was the last surviving member of the family he was born to. Bill loved growing up on the old homestead, chasing cows and horses, and going to school at the Howard Flats school. As it became more difficult to make a living on the ranch, the family moved to town, where he continued his education at Chelan High School. He graduated in 1942. He followed that up with two years of service in the United States Army (military police division). Bill took advantage of the GI Bill and went to college and earned a teaching certificate at Eastern Washington College of Education.
Bill married Mary Trainer of Chelan on October 7, 1950. After graduation from Eastern, he and Mary moved to Marcus, WA for his first teaching job. This is also where they had their first two daughters, Christy and Kerry. After two years in Marcus, they moved to Manson, WA for Bill’s second teaching job of three years. When an elementary teaching position opened up in Chelan, the couple jumped at the chance to move home. After moving back to Chelan, Bill and Mary had two more children: daughter, Scottie and son, Douglas. Bill volunteered as an auxiliary policeman; he was a Mason; a saddle club member; and, mostly against his will but he did it for Mary, a square dancer. His two biggest passions were basketball and farming. It was nothing for him to run over to the gym at 5:30 in the morning to throw the orange ball around and make a few baskets. He loved the farming life and bought a small farm in the Antoine Creek area, where he raised cattle, horses and alfalfa. He loved the outdoors and his animals.
Bill is survived by his children, Christy Bigelow of Chelan, WA, Kerry Courtney (husband, Cliff) of Stehekin, WA, Scottie Culnane of Spokane, WA, and Doug Bigelow of Everett, WA; and his grandchildren, Logan Courtney (wife, Cori), Colter Courtney, and Sian Culnane. He is also leaving behind several lovely friends, who were very good about visiting him as his days grew shorter. He was very appreciative. He also leaves behind a little piece of himself with all of the hundreds of students he taught. He left us some terrific stories about so many of you.
The family would like to thank Dr. Dame of Columbia Valley Health for your kindness. To the Chelan Home Health nurses and aides, Karla, Karen, Roxanne, Jane, Jill, and Maureen ~ dad got a kick out of you all. You always made him feel secure and brightened his day. To Physical Therapy and to Mike, in particular, he enjoyed your jokes and stories about your family. To the hospital nurses and CNA’s, thank you for your patience and your big hearts. He appreciated your light hearted efforts to make his stay and circumstances more palatable.
A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, January 11, 2014, at Lake Chelan Senior Center, 534 East Trow Avenue, followed by dessert and coffee.