Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
William R. “BILL” Stendal Memorial
William R. “BILL” Stendal Memorial

William R. “BILL” Stendal

William R. “BILL” Stendal

Monday, February 27th, 2017

William R. “BILL” Stendal passed away two weeks after his 89th birthday on February 22, 2017, due to complications of dementia.  He was born on February 8, 1928 at the Stendal home on Ferry Street in Sedro-Woolley, the third son of P. A. “Puss” and Mildred (Hegg) Stendal.  They were remarkable parents who opened their home to any and all, including their neighborhood children where their playground allowed them to produce fantastic circuses and parades.  Bill had an idyllic childhood!

Bill graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School in 1946, served in the regular U.S. Army  where he earned the distinction of receiving his Sergeant rank in less than one year.  Upon his return Bill graduated from the M.V. Junior College, (now Skagit Valley College) in 1949, and then graduated from Western Washington University in 1951 with a B.A. in Education Degree.

Bill loved teaching and was compassionate, beginning in 1951 with 7th Grade at Central Grade School in Sedro-Woolley, Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu, Hamilton Elementary School, followed by Butzbach, Germany USA DOD Army School, and in 1960, back to Sedro-Woolley’s new Cascade Middle School where he served as Boys’ Counselor, Vice Principal, and Principal until retiring in 1982 after 31 years in education.  Then he followed his other passion—cooking—his slogan was—“If you’ve got the place, I’ve got the food” and he was BUSY!  He catered many reunions, weddings, memorials, as well hundreds of “freebies” for community causes. With his friend, Marje Peters, they co-founded the historic Sedro-Woolley Community Thanksgiving Dinner for 25 years, and the Loggerodeo Chicken Picnic in the Park for 20 years.

In 1986, Bill ran for PUD Commissioner and effectively used his “people skills” to serve a six year term and then a four year term as Mayor of Sedro-Woolley, finally retiring in 1995.  He served as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, was active in the Rotary Club, Masonic Lodge, Pioneer Association, and Retired Teachers.  He played Santa Claus for Sedro-Woolley for years—attended work parties for any need—and received so many awards they circled his whole den.  He also found time to be a world traveler, visiting all continents except Antarctica, but his favorite place in the whole world was probably Cain Lake where he completely restored a shabby little shack into a nice two story cabin and, with a little help from his nephew and friends, built the Taj Mahal, a fancy storage building with a loft!

Bill’s was a life of service.  He was impeccably honest—his word was as good as gold!  Bill was always willing to undertake any task, no matter how difficult, messy, or time-consuming, if there was a need.  He was a great family man, a loving husband, father and grandfather.  He was an unpretentious common man with a ready smile, a whistle, and a twinkle in his eye.

Bill is survived by his wife of 67 years, Eloise; two children, Mark and wife Becky of Sammamish, Mary and husband Graham, of White Rock, B.C.; granddaughter, Samantha Stendal of North Hollywood, CA; grandsons, Cole and fiancé Whitney, and Keaton Edwards of White Rock, B.C., and fifteen cherished nieces and nephews and their families. He was preceded in death by his parents, and his two brothers, John and Ralph.

Bill passed away at Creekside Memory Care where he was treated with loving compassion. Also,

Hospice care was deeply appreciated. Memorials are suggested to the Alzheimer’s Association, 100 W. Harrison St., Ste. North 200, Seattle, WA 98119 or Hospice of NW, 227 Freeeway Drive, Ste. A, Mount Vernon, WA 98273.

A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2017, at 2:30 pm (changed from 3:00 pm) at the Sedro-Woolley High School Auditorium.  Services and cremation arrangements are under the direction of Lemley Chapel, Sedro-Woolley.


  • Jack and Jack Turner

    A true gentleman we will miss him. Our prayers are with the family.

  • Mark Roybal

    It was a pleasure to have met Mr. Bill Stendal, one of my best friend’s (Mark) father.

  • John Doan

    Many times I’ve told the story of growing up in Sedro Woolley and hearing about and seeing Mr. Stendal and Mr. Brown as icons of community service. People who where both leaders in making the community a better place and “doers” in making things happen, whatever needed to be done. For Mr. Stendal, as I knew him, it was a life-time of service that left the community a better place and the people in it better off. I know that comes with sacrifice, so to his family, thank you!

  • Meg Kershaw

    The first year I volunteered for the Sedro-Woolley Thanksgiving feast Bill was recognized as the founder of this community event. Though I have moved to Anacortes I still volunteer and every year think of what he gave to the community.

  • Greg and Karen Peterka

    Bill had the wisdom of Solomon. He loved all that he knew and was everyone’s friend. ~ ‘Prayers for Eloise and the entire Stendal family.

  • Dave Button

    Bill was a TRUE example of Service. He was my Principal when I
    taught at Cascade School and ran a disciplined structured environment
    with a positive attitude and a sense of humor. He also cooked breakfast
    for a Big Group of my rafters on the Suiattle River near Darrington.

    He will Always BE Admired FOR HIS Unselfish contributions.

  • Phil-Queen

    It has been almost fifty years since I last met Mr. Stendal, during my Junior High School days. Sometimes he would pull us Boys aside and tell us the proper way that we should be conducting ourselves. But he always done so with kindness and consideration, a very likeable person!

  • Michael Nelson

    Billy Ray
    What can you say?
    A pinch and a whistle
    To brighten your day.

    Generous and kind to those in need,
    Food for the soul, just another good deed.

    Stories abound, that would make you laugh
    Mostly about, a personal gaff.

    More than likely, you’d be the brunt of a joke
    A hot cake O-Raggin, on which you would choke.

    Hangover lessons were taught not with harsh words or body slam,
    But with creative epicure, like green eggs and ham.

    A long drive to Mount Baker
    And three young boys who had to pee,
    What could go wrong at “wook out tree?”

    Cold dark mornings at Cain Lake,
    Is where, as kids, we learned to fish
    Sunrise met, with a crackling fire, warm steamy cabin, hot chocolate and a full-breakfast-dish.

    He touched our lives and shaped lasting memories–it’s fair to claim
    But without him telling stories, it will never be the same.

    Life has a way of being so unfair
    The one who created so many life-long memories
    Watched his slowly disappear.

    The torch has been passed,
    Stories and memories will be relayed:
    ‘Live like the man who cared,
    The man named Billy Ray.’

  • Peggy Smith

    Bill was a remarkable gentleman who always thought of others, and the epitome of community-minded. His smile always brought a smile from others. We were all fortunate to know him and his family.

  • Susy Sanders

    What an amazingly wonderful and caring man. He lead an exemplary life that served as a model for so many of us. Blessings on him as he joins the Lord that he very cleared served and served well.