May 6, 1925 – May 18, 2015
William (Bill) Youlden was born on May 6, 1925, in Victoria, B.C., to Dr. Samuel and Mary Katherine (Clark) Youlden. He died on May 18, 2015, at the age of 90 in the amazing care of his son after a short battle with stomach cancer.
He graduated from Mt. Douglas High School in Victoria in 1943. While in school, Bill was an excellent athlete, especially enjoying competitive swimming and soccer as a fullback. While growing up in Victoria, Bill learned to love the water as he, along with his brother and dad, spent most of their time on their boat the “Kangaroo.” He first learned his entrepreneurial skills from his newspaper delivery business as a youngster. Even through his sometimes debilitating asthma, the paper always got delivered on time as he tossed them onto porches while riding full speed on his one-speed bicycle with his dog at his side. After high school, he completed a 5-year machinist apprenticeship with the Canadian Pacific Railroad.
Bill married Beth L. Coutts in 1950, and together they raised three children. After the family left Victoria in 1956, they settled in Hoquiam for a short time where Bill worked for Lamb Logging. Within a year, they pulled up again and moved to Sekiu where Bill worked for 28 years for Rayonier, Inc. as a machinist, later becoming the shop foreman. After driving over the one-lane Burnt Mountain Road and arriving in Sekiu on a gray December day with 3 hungry children and finding no restaurants open, Beth vowed, “I will stay one year; that’s it.” A soon-to-be friend made them sandwiches, told Beth it would be fine, and that one year slipped into 48.
Bill was always a hard worker, and a regular job was not enough to keep him busy. His first venture was Bill’s Charters, which he operated in the evenings and weekends. After selling the boat, he built the Sekiu Custom Cannery, which the family operated during the fishing seasons. They later converted it to an apartment and laundromat. He also dabbled in logging, real estate, and built the family home in Sekiu himself with plans Beth drew on an 8” x 6” tablet. As Bill put up a wall, Beth edited the plans to accommodate the new measurement.
In his spare time Bill enjoyed hunting and fishing with his son Brent. Bill is best remembered by his extended family and friends for his accommodating visitors to Sekiu. Very few visited in the winter months but many came for the active summers. Bill was always up for a fishing trip and never met a fisherman he didn’t like.
He was a machinist’s union officer, a member and past president of the Clallam Bay-Sekiu Lions Club, a volunteer ambulance driver, and an advisory committee member for the Clallam Bay High School shop program. After Bill’s retirement from ITT Rayonier, he and Beth traveled throughout the world, especially enjoying the cruises and later snow birding in Yuma where Bill stayed fit biking, swimming, and walking miles into the desert daily.
Bill and Beth remained in Sekiu until 2005 when they moved to Sequim; Beth passed away there in 2011 after 60 years of marriage. Bill continued to stay active, walking two miles most days. There is some question about the distance since he could not pass a dog without petting and talking with it. Last year Bill moved to Renton to be closer to family. When his family shared greetings from his former Sequim neighbors but they couldn’t remember the name, he never asked what they looked like but rather, “What kind of dog did they have?” Mystery solved.
Bill is survived by his three children: Brent Youlden of Asotin, Debbie (Bob) Wood of Snoqualmie, and Cheryl (Bill) West of Seaside, Oregon. He especially loved his role of “Papa” to Ryan (Nicole) Coward, Brooke Coward, Angela (Garrett) Long, Teresa Bernardi, Jeff (Brandy) West, Brittany (Fred) Frank, Shawna (Jared) Wagner; 11 great grandchildren; and 5 great-great grandchildren. Also surviving are nephew Daryl (Cathy) Youlden and niece Lynn (Darren) Mancuso of Vancouver Island; brothers-in-law Bill (Doreen) Coutts, Ross (Elsie) Coutts, Cecil (June) Coutts, Terry (Delores) Coutts, Ron (Diane) Coutts, and sisters-in-law Evelyn Zaharuk and Daphne Coutts, as well as 17 Coutts nieces and nephews, all of Canada. Bill’s parents, brother Jack and wife Dorothy, and brother-in-law Mervyn Coutts predeceased him. Bill’s strength of character and good humor will be missed by family and friends.
At his request there will be no services. Contributions in Bill’s memory may be made to Hospice of Clallam County, 540 E. 8th Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362 or your favorite charity.
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