William "Bill" Allan Killiam
January 23, 1944 – May 22, 2021
Bill Killian passed away on Saturday, May 22, 2021, to the surprise of all who knew and loved him. And all who knew him DID love him. He was so filled with warmth, laughter and life, that when told of Bill’s death, his own brother Mike asked, “Bill who?” It is unfathomable to all of us that he has gone on to his Creator. He strove every day to make someone else’s day better, seeing the needs of others and doing everything in his power to help when needed. If his work life, from military service in the Army to his passion for the automotive industry, could be defined by one word, it was “service.” In service of his country, he was awarded two Bronze Stars with V device, representing acts of heroism during war. His service to both clients and colleague-friends while working in the automotive industry led to close, post retirement friendships, a brotherhood, that included forming a small inventory business based on friendships and service. We loved him for how patient he was with his “girls” Stacey and Kristen when they’d gang up to tease him incessantly. He could see right through to the core of each of us. He understood and accepted our shortcomings, but celebrated the best in us all. We heard, repeatedly, in his life and after, “He’s the father/brother/grandfather I never had.” Nephew Josh called for the life advice he needed to be a better husband, father, son and friend. His son-in-law Jeff called many, many times for Subaru and Volkswagen engine advice. Bill provided, always, a non-judgmental voice of wisdom. He loved PB&Js at 2AM (and laughed like a loon when caught red-handed) and relished any dish Stacey placed in front of him with the words, “Stace! This is the best sandwich/fish/broccoli/etc. I’ve ever had!” Memory Lane was Main Street in Bills dream town. When he took a walk down Memory Lane, he took friends and family by the hand and invited them for a stroll where history and friendship were made present again.
He hiked much of the Appalachian Trail, then inspired his daughter (who’d never spent a night in the woods), his brother Mike, and one of several Eagle Scouts, David, to complete their own thru hikes. His two younger brothers, Jibba and Mike, are going to miss the Sunday phone calls filled with boisterous laughter, streaming tears, and so very much love. Every Pictionary drawing included some sort of war tank – the Killian Boys’ Team never won a game at holidays! The courage he exemplified during his service to his country in war was who he was throughout his life. From the time at 12yrs when he was recognized for saving the life of another boy scout who’d fallen from a swing onto rocks, to more recently when( in his 70’s) he leaped from the car Stacey was driving to pull a family from a burning car on the interstate, he was absolutely selfless in the service of others. Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Bill was the most loyal sidekick any person could want; and he was always up for an adventure, no matter how big or little. Stacey: “Do you want to take a Baltic cruise? The crew and other passengers are from Barcelona and only speak Spanish.”
Bill: “Yeah, you bet!” Stacey: “Hey Bill, let’s snorkel for the first time in our 70’s off the side of this party boat in the cold Pacific!” Bill: “Let’s DO IT!” Kristen: “Dad, I just bought a car in NYC. Wanna drive it out to Seattle and then take a train home to TN?” Bill: “I would love to!” While so many of us would love to be given just one nickname, knowing nicknames to be the signs of affection they are, Bill earned several appropriations. At Officer Candidate School, he was Candidate Extraneous for his early habit of going off on tangents, telling stories and tying in a “little extra info” to each operation. It was an enormous endeavor training Bill NOT to smile during inspection!
When Bill, already working and in school, drove a bus for a private school so that Kristen could attend and start a strong education, the school children named their favorite bus driver “Stoggie.” They’d call “Stoggie” when boarding in the morning and leaving in the afternoon. His infectious grin united the raucous kids. His scout troop awarded the moniker “Captain Quaalude” for the dazed and confused expression on his face when he emerged from his tent on their camping trips.
The staff in the Radiation Oncology unit at UT named him “Wild Bill” following several visits filled with rolling laughter. The name stuck and they even called “Wild Bill” over the intercom While Bronze Stars, leading young Scouts to become Eagle Scouts, and raising a kind and intelligent daughter who followed in his “service to others” footsteps were all reasons to be proud, Bill’s greatest achievement and delight was winning (and keeping!) the hand of Stacey Jones. He loved and honored her to the end of possibility. He cherished her humor, intelligence, loyalty, and strength – and thought she was the cutest, most fun woman in the world. What an adventure they had!
And despite the words on the death certificate, we know the truth: Bill died of a broken heart 3 weeks following the passing of his beloved Aussie, Nieko. Stats William (Bill) Allan Killian Born: January 23, 1944, Knoxville, TN Aged: 77yrs Died: May 22, 2021, Everett WA Married Stacey Jones Served in US Army as Artillery Forward Observer in Viet Nam. Awarded 2 Bronze Stars with V device and 2 Oak Leaf clusters Daughter: Kristen Killian Brothers: Claude Leon “Jib” Killian (Belinda), Michael Hall Killian (Sandra) Brother in Law: Skip Jones (Toma Sue) Aunts: Mary Killian, Jane Hall Five Nieces and Nephews, along with “great-grands” who were bright lights in his life Parents (d.): Reverend Claude Leon Sr. and Iris Isabella Son in Law, still: Jeff Robinson So many friends he loved who remained throughout his life.