Remembering William John Westenhaver

William John Westenhaver

 June 6, 1925-December 14, 2016

He was a bright light that did not dim with age.

There were no strangers to Bill, only people he had not yet met.

Born in Aberdeen, Wash., to Charles and Olga (Benson) Westenhaver.

Billy was an only child who grew up in Aberdeen and later southern California when there were still some wild places. He loved the ocean, bays, lagoons, and backwaters that were prevalent back then.

He joined the Navy at the age of 17 and served in the South Pacific during WWII. He loved to draw and would always include drawings and artwork with his letters back home.

After the war, he married Patricia Jean Frank and started a family in southern Cal.

He worked for Union Oil and attended LA Art Center on the GI Bill.

Once he graduated from Art Center, he packed up the family, which now included sons Jerry and Kim, and moved to Washington.

After several fits and starts, he settled in Mount Vernon where son, Ty, was born.

It was here that Bill, along with cousin Robert Post, Jr., created Witco Decor Inc., a furniture manufacturing company that operated for approximately 20 years, until 1979.

Witco furniture is unique, collectible, and speaks to his prolific talent.

Bill continued with his art, painting, printing, and carving throughout his life. His artistic journey was chronicled recently in the beautiful art history book, "Tiki Modern and the Wild World of Witco."

While we, his family, always loved his creative works, he never looked back. He always looked forward to new endeavors.

Bill loved Skagit County, and in particular, Guemes Island. He would own a place on Guemes the rest of his life. The cabin on Guemes is a bonding point for four generations of Westenhavers.

He loved music, dancing, Husky football and golfing . . . badly.

William was a warm, gregarious and welcoming man who loved family, friends and life. He was truly loved by all.

He was preceded in death in 2006 by his dance and golf partner and wife of 59 years, Patricia.

He is survived by his loving companion Lillian Reggiatore, sons Jerry (Lea), Kim (Christy), Ty (Joyce); grandchildren, Heather (Ken) Pleasant, Jared (Mindy) Westenhaver, Jesse Willette, Todd (Anna) Stuart, and Stacie (Ryan) Moore; and great-grandchildren, Hazel, Hanna, Makenna, Gabby, Brody, and Blake.

A memorial is planned at a later date.

The Chicago Sun-Times has posted a great article about the "Tiki Titan"

 

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