Aug. 17, 1951 — Nov. 4, 2017
William Walter Boone passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his wife and children, on Nov. 4, 2017. Born on Aug. 17, 1951, and raised in Portland, William (Bill) was the third child of four born to Harold and Virginia Boone. His older sisters, Debra and Carol Lee, welcomed his arrival, and a couple of years later he was followed by his brother, Daniel.
Bill grew up boating, whitewater kayaking, and fishing on Oregon rivers. At age 19, he spent a summer traveling solo in Europe, and upon his return home, attended the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Bill worked as a cook at Rian’s Fish House in Portland in the early 1970s, where he met his wife, Deborah, who worked there as a waitress. In 1974, Bill and Debby married and moved into an old house near Hamlet that underwent a slow and consistent remodeling project for nearly 40 years. Their daughter, Wendy, was born in 1978, and their son, Peter, in 1981.
Bill was a dedicated parent to both children, teaching them to work hard, to be patient, to respect all beings, and to serve their community however they can. When his young daughter finally convinced him that she needed a horse, Bill cleared a pasture, taught her how to build a fence, and bought her two horses. When his son, Peter, wanted a cabin, they designed and built a cabin on skids that they could move around the property with an old Allis Chalmers dozer.
Bill also coached soccer teams for both kids, and spent countless hours watching games in the wind and rain. He was a great listener, and gently helped his kids with subtle advice and wise counsel as they grew up and navigated a challenging world.
Bill began working construction for a local builder soon after moving to the area, and learned to be a skilled carpenter and craftsman. A natural entrepreneur, he operated Charlie Creek Supply, selling building materials, and then started Boone Construction Inc. in 1976. The business successfully weathered the economic ups and downs for 40 years until his retirement in June 2016, and the many beautiful homes he built and remodeled for his clients can be found along the coast from Manzanita to Gearhart.
Many of his clients became good friends, as they found themselves connected to Bill far beyond the business relationship. A capable man, he was also a self-taught plumber, electrician, sport logger, mechanic, road builder, bridge builder, and thanks to his young daughter, occasional horse wrangler.
Bill joined the Hamlet Volunteer Fire Department in 1975, and became fire chief in 1991. He served as chief until he retired from the department in 2016, thus ending a 40-plus year career with the volunteer fire service. Bill believed strongly in a sense of civic duty, and shared this commitment to public service with both of his own children, as well as other young people in the community.
A natural leader with a calm and quiet hand, his tenure as chief oversaw expansion of the department, the construction of two fire stations, and steady upgrading of equipment. Over the years, he helped thousands of people at hundreds of emergency scenes, and was a comforting presence for those in need of help.
Bill loved good food, and he liked to cook. Dinner was often the highlight of his day, whether he was out at a restaurant or cooking it himself, and he enjoyed teaching his kids how to cook. He also loved live music, especially the blues, and was a regular attendee, with his children and granddaughter most years, at the annual Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland. He was a familiar face at small live music venues in the area, and always enjoyed a good show.
He taught his children to love the outdoors, wildlife, and the forest environment. Both fondly recall time in the woods with Dad falling trees, moving logs, cutting firewood, clearing ditches, watching animals and learning to identify their tracks, picking mushrooms, and tending newly planted trees.
He had his favorite trees, old giants that he watched change and grow over the years, and he carried a wealth of knowledge about the many different varieties that grow on his property. Bill loved his property, which he called “the place,” but at the same time he recognized that it wasn’t just his. It belonged to all the living things that inhabited it, and he was just one of those things.
Bill loved to fish, and enjoyed vacations in his middle and later years to Mexico and Canada to fish and enjoy life with friends and family. Despite these storied and much-enjoyed trips, he was just as happy to wade the rivers at home with a fly rod. He taught his son Peter to fish for salmon and steelhead, and although a good fish was always celebrated, he also taught his son to truly appreciate a day on the water even if no fish were involved. Bill loved spending time on his boat, and especially enjoyed an overnight voyage up the Columbia River with his granddaughter, Jacqui. His children both have wonderful memories of fishing with Dad, and both learned to love the outdoors as much as he did. Bill took up elk hunting when he and Debby moved to the coast, and because of his love for animals, he was selective about the animals he chose to harvest. He would drive his son nuts by passing up legal bulls if he thought they would be old and tough, or difficult to pack out.
Bill had many friends from all walks of life, and was loved by many. He loved a good story, whether he was telling or listening, and loved to share a good laugh. He was much loved and will be dearly missed.
Memorial donations can be made to the Hamlet Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 765, Seaside, OR 97138.