William Brees Stoebuck

March 18, 1929November 18, 2012

William Brees “Bill” Stoebuck was born in Wichita, Kansas on March 18, 1929 to William Douglas and Donice Beth (Brees) Stoebuck. He attended East High School and went on to graduate from Wichita State University in 1951 with a BA in History and a minor in Economics. He served in the Korean Conflict while in active service with the Air Force (1951 – 56) and earned a MS in History at Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1953. Upon his discharge as a 1st Lt USAF in 1956 he set his sights on law school. He attended University of Washington, where he served as Editor of Washington Law Review, graduating with a JD in 1959. Admitted to the Washington Bar in 1959, he practiced law for five years in Seattle before following his true calling, teaching: First at the University of Denver, College of Law as an assistant professor (1964-66). The next school year he studied at Harvard Law School, obtaining his SJD in 1973. In the Spring of 1967 he was admitted to US Supreme Court bar. In the fall of 1967 Bill was appointed as an Associate Professor of Law at University of Washington. He was later promoted to full professor in 1970. In 1995 he was made the first recipient of the Judson Falknor Professor of Law at U of W School of Law. Bill retired fully from teaching in 2007. He was a member of the Order of Coif and of counsel for Karr Tuttle Campbell. Bill worked tirelessly on whatever pursuit captured his interest – from photography to sailing to becoming a national expert in real property law. He was a member of the University of Washington, School of Law Faculty for nearly 40 years. During that time, he co-authored a number of textbooks that were used in laws schools throughout the nation. Bill helped define Washington State Property Law. He was an avid sailor and boater, and spent part of every summer for over 35 years in the San Juans and Desolation Sound. Over the years he was active in the Lutheran church, Republican Party, Cascade Symphony Orchestra, and Seattle Yacht Club.

Bill married his high school sweetheart, Mary Virginia Fields, on December 24, 1951. After making numerous moves with the Air Force, and then for Bill’s career, they made their home in Lake Forest Park. They enjoyed living in Lexington, Virginia, San Francisco, and Tübingen, Germany, while Bill was a visiting professor at several universities. They also traveled to Europe, Asia, and Hawaii.

He is missed by his wife of 60 years, Mary, and is survived by his daughters Elizabeth Wilson, Catherine Rose and Caroline Stoebuck; grandchildren Julie Bong (Dustin), Apryl Alaibilla (Ramondo), Roy Rose (Nadine), Emma Wilson and Abigail Wilson; and great-grand daughter Sienna Rose. He is also survived by his sister Beverley Olson (Richard), brother-in-law Alan Fields, and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Washington ( or Evergreen Hospice Care.

Robert Burns 1759-1796

An honest man here lies at rest, As e’er God with his image blest; the friend of man, the friend of truth, The friend of age, and guide of youth: Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d, Few heads with knowledge so informed; If there is another world, he lives in bliss; If there is none, he made the best of this.


  • Viewing Tuesday, November 27, 2012
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, November 27, 2012
  • Burial Tuesday, November 27, 2012

William Brees Stoebuck

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January 28, 2013

Bill Stoebuck has had a profound influence on my law school experience and my legal career. In my third year of law school in 1990-1991, he was my professor for my analytic writing paper that we worked on all year. He always told me I was a good writer, but I attribute much of that to him! We remained good friends after law school, having lunch a few times a year and I knew I could always call him with real property issues. I always enjoyed discussing issues with him and he always had the answers! He will be missed. Kristin Olson

Scott Railton

January 23, 2013

I'm very sorry to hear this news. All my best wishes to Professor Stoebuck's family. As a former student, I particularly admired Professor Stoebuck's commitment to the law, his students, and the UW.

John Magee

January 19, 2013

Professor Stoebuck was the most influential teacher I had at UW. In 1969 we first year students were divided into small sections, and I was in his Real Property group. His emphasis on careful reading and analysis gave me a foundation that made all my subsequent class preparation seem easy. I am still practicing today, in a field that requires that same kind of close analysis, and I think of him often. John B. Magee (Washington, DC)

Galen Schuler

January 16, 2013

Dear Stoebuck Family:

Please know that Bill was a blessing and inspiration to me as a law student. Of course we was a great scholar and professor, but he was even more -- a good man. I will always appreciate the contribution he made to law school diversity by being a conservative and Lutheran. I live with the hope that we will see him again. Thanks be to God for this good man.

Mary Chavez

January 16, 2013

I remember Professor Stoebuck well. I never missed a class in real property. I was afraid to because he had a reputation for being tough on grading. He also was very kind and generous to students. On the day of the exam he was always in the classroom to offer any last minute help. I even remember him allowing one student to take the entire final exam over because she had a rough time that year in her personal life. He was a great lecturer and a sharp dresser. He always reminded me of Clark Gable in his appearance. The best advice he gave us was a great lawyer never has all the answers but asks all the right questions. I want to offer my sincere condolences to his family.

Tom McKeirnan (UW Law Class of 95)

January 15, 2013

I am very sad to hear of Professor Stoebuck's passing. My deepest sympathy goes to his family. I often tell people that it was Professor Stoebuck who really taught me how to write in law school. I am forever grateful to him for that, because his mentorship has had very many positive impacts on my life.

Courtland Shafer

January 15, 2013

Mary and the Stoebuck Family:

Professor Stoebuck was a man of gravitas and fairness in the classroom, and a pleasure outside of it. My parents are no longer around to share their condolences, so I must do it for the three of us.

William Drew

January 15, 2013

Professor Stoebuck was my favorite professor at UW Law School. I took every course he taught. His practical experience and lecture style made him an outstanding professor of law. Bill Drew, UW JD 1974

Gregory Sisk

January 15, 2013

For me, the first year of law school was difficult, not so much academically (although it was challenging), but emotionally. I realized even then that much of the stress was self-generated, but that didn't make it any less real.

At the end of the first quarter -- when I received disappointing grades posted on New Year's Eve -- I seriously considered dropping out of law school.

Then, during the winter quarter, I had Professor Stoebuck for Property. His excitement about a subject that, initially, seemed dry to me, was infectious. His concern for students was obvious and personally felt.

He became for me both my favorite professor and my mentor, as I made the transition into legal practice (including a couple of years at Karr Tuttle Campbell, where he was of counsel) and then into the legal academy. I am now in my third decade as a law professor, holding the Laghi Chair at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

On that New Year's Eve when I received my first set of grades in law school, I could hardly imagine that I would become a lawyer, much less a law professor and legal scholar. Professor Stoebuck inspired me to think, not just of passing law school, but of achieving something greater. As a professor and as a person, Bill Stoebuck has been one of the half dozen people who have meant the most to me in my professional life.

Greg Sisk (Minneapolis, MN)

January 12, 2013

I am so sorry to hear that Bill died. I was so thrilled and complimented when he asked me to be a co-author of the Washington Practice. I knew him as a man of deep knowledge and sometimes a surprising sense of humor and I hope that I do him honor as the continuing author of the book.
John Weaver