US Air Force

William F. "Bill" Cottrell

April 8, 1930 ~ November 15, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old

William Cottrell Obituary

Bill was a resident of West Seattle since the 1950s. Born in Omaha, NE in 1930, he attended Catholic schools in Omaha. The whole family moved to Washington State from Omaha in 1941 when he was 10 years old.

They drove overland to Skagit County, WA in a Model-T truck, camping on the way. The family had purchased a forested quarter section of land on Friday Creek. After logging the land Bill’s family built a house. They had been living in a tent up to that point and Bill’s mother, Mabel, had been cooking over an open fire since they left Omaha six months earlier.

Bill told stories about riding motorcycles with his buddies in high school. He also told stories about dealing with the many farm animals the family had. One particular horse was trained to help log the land; independently he would haul logs down to the road, then return up the hill to get the next one.

He also trained the skittish horse to come to him by use of a small piece of string as a bridle. Bill was a horse whisperer before the book was written.

Bill graduated from Mt. Vernon high school and joined the US Air Force in 1948. He became a jet navigator, commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, and was sent to Japan to defend the islands from attack by the North Korean Air Force. He also spent time at air force bases in Texas and Montana.

When Bill came home by ship from Korea in 1953, his brother Tom took the whole family and Bill’s mom and dad down to the Seattle waterfront to meet him. For the nephews (3 and 5 years old) this was the most excitement they had ever seen. Cheering crowds, balloons, streamers, and a band--just like in the movies, as the troop ship docked in Seattle.

Following his discharge from the Air Force, Bill attended Seattle University and graduated with a degree in civil engineering. During his engineering career he worked on projects in the United Kingdom and traveled throughout Europe and Russia.

In 1966, Bill married Elizabeth (Betty) Ward. Following the wedding the two drove to Mexico City to open an office for the T.B.& D. engineering firm. Betty was a childhood friend from Iowa. They were married 52 years until her passing in 2018.

He was an avid golfer, enjoying outings with Betty, neighbors, and friends to golf courses in Western Washington. Other travel he and Betty made were several road trips to visit relatives in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.

Bill is survived by nephews in Seattle and Texas and nieces in Missouri and Iowa.

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