Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
William Stiles Memorial
William Stiles Memorial

William Stiles

William Stiles

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

William Avery Stiles Jr., age 93, of Sedro-Woolley passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Wednesday, September 27, 2017.  William, affectionately known as Papa Bill, was born and raised in Sedro-Woolley where he grew up with his parents, one older brother and four sisters.   Bill graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School in 1942, and immediately enlisted into the Navy Air Corps in June 1942, earning his wings in August 1943 as a naval aviator.   During a training exercise near Vero Beach, Florida, he survived a plane crash after the engine froze.   While recovering in the hospital from his injuries, his squadron deployed and the transport carrier was sunk.   Following a medical discharge in November 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in February 1944.  Following his honorable Army discharge in October 1945, he attended the University of Wichita and graduated in May 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree.    He met Betty Brock while at college and they married in Wichita, Kansas on December 18, 1949.    He then attended Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, earning his law degree in September 1950.   They moved to Sedro-Woolley in 1950 and raised five sons and one daughter.

After passing the Bar examination, he was admitted to practice law in the State of Washington on February 26, 1951.  He opened a law office in Sedro-Woolley. He served as the Sedro-Woolley Police Judge beginning in the late 1950’s to 1964, and then served as the Sedro-Woolley City Attorney from 1964 to 1982.   He was on the City Council from 1970 – 1972.  He was admitted to appear in the United States Supreme Court on December 18, 1967.   He also became the first attorney in Skagit County to serve on a jury.  His sons Brian and Brock joined his law firm after many years of hiring young attorneys looking to get established in the county.

Bill always appreciated his community, and felt compelled to help people with their legal problems when they couldn’t afford a lawyer. He generously supported many community causes over the years, but helping someone who was overwhelmed, disliked or an underdog was a common theme for him. He was also known as a hard-working, courageous litigator who was not afraid to try a difficult case for a client.

He traveled often during his legal career including trips to Costa Rica, Honduras, Canada, and the Marshall Islands with clients.

Bill was an active member of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, was a Scout Master for Cub Scout Troop 70, and Little League baseball coach for the “Little Giants”.    He helped establish the Sedro-Woolley Alumni Association, and also donated property to the city which became a portion of River Front Park.       He served on numerous community projects and boards after he retired: including assisting the efforts to keep the hospital in Sedro-Woolley and helping people at the Skagit County Community Action Agency’s free legal clinic.   In recognition of his many contributions to his community, Bill was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow from the Sedro-Woolley Rotary Club, and a Hall of Fame award from the Sedro-Woolley School District.

His faith, family and serving others were the most important aspects of his life.  He enjoyed summer road trips with the family across the United States, and vacations to Europe, Australia and Hawaii, and many cruises to Mexico, Panama Canal, East Coast, Caribbean, and Alaska with his wife Betty. He took his last cruise to Alaska in June 2017.  Bill loved his church community, hunting, horse racing, and meeting friends at Joy’s Bakery.

Bill is survived by his children, Bill, III (Kim), Bob, Brian (Vange), Bret (Sherilee), Brock (Katherine), and Becky Adams (Greg); his grandchildren, Rob, Avery, Adam, Melanie, Sarah, Alicia, Brendan, Sarah, Jonathon, Zack, Kaylee, Jordyn, Wyatt, Grace, Mary, and Drew; and his great-grandchildren, Maddee, Josie, Lincoln, Kinsey, Emry, Austen and Cruz;  sister-in-law Norma Morgan of Wichita, Kansas; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife Betty, parents William Avery Stiles and Mary Etta Stiles, his brother Louie Stiles and sisters Mabel Cline, Helen Berg, Ann Nelson, and Faye Jensen, daughter-in-law Ann Stiles, and daughter-in-law Donna Stiles.

Special thanks to Hospice and Home Instead, and caregivers Jen Backstrom, Sandra Hartlove, Tammie Nelson, and Arma Condon.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be given to Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 1006 Wicker Road, Sedro-Woolley, WA  98284, or the Sedro-Woolley Alumni & Schools Foundation’s Bill & Betty Stiles scholarship fund, P. O. Box 509, Sedro-Woolley, WA  98284, or to your favorite charity.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday October 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 1006 Wicker Road in Sedro-Woolley.  A reception will follow at the church.  Please share your memories of Bill and sign the online guest register.


  • Bill McCann

    I got to know Bill as a colleague and fellow lawyer when I moved back to Sedro-Woolley to open my practice in late 1974. a little later, I was on the city counsel while Bill was city attorney. I was and am impressed by his passion for justice and the lasting legacy which continues to be reflected in the careers of Brian and Brock.
    Of course, I knew Bill long before coming home. He was my neighbor across the street. And, while I was in high school, I coached some neighborhood kids, including Billy, Bobby and Brian in a football game. After the game, Bill bought milkshakes for everybody. Bill practiced law for well over 50 years. I think of that as I approach my 50th (still a few years away.)

  • Patty (Johnson) Chatterton

    Bill was my very first boss after leaving college. I learned so much from him in the three years I was his secretary. My parents were one of his first clients and he made sure I came to work for him right out of school. My friend Mary and I lived in his apartment building next door to his home on Talcott Street where we shared good memories, babysat the boys and even took a trip to the ocean with the whole family!
    I am unable to attend Bill’s service but want the family to know I will always hold a special place in my heart for a wonderful man!