William (Bill) Tamcke rejoined Dixie, his wife of 60 years, over the Memorial Day Weekend. Born in Bellingham in 1937 to Margaret O’Hara Tamcke of Anaconda, Montana and Henry William Tamcke of Deer Lodge, Montana, Bill lost his father at a young age. He helped his mother and older sister Betty care for his twin brothers Ron and Bob, little sister Mary Ann, and youngest brother John, gathering coal to help heat their home and throwing papers for the Bellingham Herald.
Bill and his siblings grew up in Bellingham and attended Assumption Catholic School and Bellingham High, which he left during his junior year to join the Navy. He got his GED while proudly serving as a machinist on the destroyer escort the USS George. Bill shared lots of wonderful stories about his time in the Pacific, such as being charged with grounding an amphibious vehicle, which likely remains at the bottom of the Tokyo harbor.
Bill was a wonderful father to Crystal (Bruce) King and Henry, and by his own admittance, an even better grandpa to Wes, Kevin, Shiloh, Billy Dean, Camorah, and Rowan. He leaves many wonderful memories of ice cream, legendary water fights, kick-the-can, laser tag and Easter egg hunts as well as valuable lessons to be passed onto his Great-Grandkids, Ritchie, Felipe, Rochelle, Liam, and Arthur.
Always quick for a laugh, Bill was mischievous and exceptional at pranking his unsuspecting friends, colleagues, and family. To no one’s surprise, while cleaning out Bill’s garage his “fire detectors” (firecrackers) were discovered.
Above all Bill loved his family, Bellingham, saltwater, the outdoors, Hershey’s chocolate, and befriending every animal he could (he traveled with dog bones in his pocket). He had a hat for every occasion, and cats would keep a wary eye for it being flung at them.
After working at Georgia Pacific for 35 years, he never forgot the friendships he forged while working as a paper machine tender, and in later years would meet at the local diner for coffee, to discuss the morning paper. After retiring in 2002 he began volunteering for the Ferndale Foodbank, until he could no longer drive.
Bill was always ready to lend a hand, and would help anybody and everybody. As a father he was a scoutmaster, and as a grandfather he was at every swim meet, basketball, baseball, football game, dance recital and concert. Always with a coffee, video camera, and candy in his pockets.
Bill could fix or improve anything, spending years remodeling his small farm and always expanding his lawn. He once made a shark fin and floated it in his flooded ditch to the delight of school kids and county maintenance workers.
Bill personified his love-of-life mantra. Whether it was making ghostly noises behind gravestones at Bayview or sledding down a frozen Alabama hill, he knew how to get into mischief and never lost his humor. One of his favorite sayings was, “If you’re not getting into trouble, you’re not having any fun.”
We are all better for knowing Bill, his departure leaves a gaping hole in his family’s world that cannot ever be filled.
A private family service at Greenacres will occur on June 25th. The community is invited to join the family for a joint celebration of life of Bill and Dixie Tamcke at the Squalicum Boathouse at Zuanich Park, 2600 N Harbor Loop Dr, Bellingham on July 12th from 11-3.
In lieu of flowers please donate to the Ferndale Foodbank.
Celebration of Life
- Date & Time: June 12, 2021 (11:00 AM - 3:00 PM)
- Venue: Squalicum Boathouse
- Location: 2600 N Harbor Loop Drive Bellingham, WA 98225 - (Get Directions)
Ferndale Food Bank
- Address: PO Box 1593 Ferndale, WA 98248
- Website: https://www.paypal.com/donate?token=vBuqslvRZl_WqL0OD0S1jjf6-VzdhXnEkj7gkBMt5nBO1_QWt_YaRz7KDx5g0LB-B6wYUnwpAVJSJQRZ
- Description: The Ferndale Food Bank serves our low income seniors, neighbors, and those in crisis living in the Ferndale and Custer, WA area.