William Le Penske
William Le Penske
William Le Penske
William Le Penske

Obituary of William James Le Penske

William James Le Penske January 23, 1946 - May 11,2021 William “Bill” Le Penske lost his battle with lung cancer, and ongoing health complications from COPD, the evening of May 11, 2021. He passed peacefully in his bedroom, in the home he designed and built, and was so deeply connected to. His family surrounded him, holding his hands as he left this place he loved so tenderly. Bill was born in Seattle, to the late "Eddie and Betty" Le Penske on January 23, 1946. His father was a pilot for United Airlines, prompting the decision to plant roots near the airport in Normandy Park, WA. There, he was raised on acres of land, home to rope swings and tree forts, gardens, and farm animals. His favorite (and also most feared) was Ramsey, the family Ram. This little slice of heaven became affectionately known to them as Havenwood. Later in life, Bill would find his way back to this sacred place, to carve out his own slice of Havenwood for his young family. He was the third of four siblings. Sister Julie and brother Steve before him, followed by the youngest, brother Tom. As a boy, Bill was always ready for an adventure. From underground forts and setting booby traps with his brother, to sailing the seas of Three Tree Point on a driftwood raft, he always knew how to find fun in the world around him. Although he loved to push the limits and often did, he was an expert at getting out of the most precarious situation, albeit with duct tape or charm. Bill attended Highline High school and was active in basketball, numerous clubs, committees, and student council, where he served as class vice-president his junior year. He was respected by his peers and thought of by his classmates as the guy with the charismatic smile. He was elected again his senior year as student body president, where he held office with friends such as Bruce Mennella, who remained by his side until the very end. Graduating in 1964, he went on to pledge with the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Washington. However, after completing his first year, he moved away from academics to pursue a trade that would later become his life-long career. He simultaneously enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves, where he spent a brief time serving his country, which he held in the highest esteem his entire life. Bill's career path led him into a life of construction, where he worked his way through the ranks, beginning as a roofer and framer, and eventually spending the majority of his adult life as a superintendent. He was a devoted employee and was honored to work for companies such as Berkley Structures, Banner Construction, and The Sabey Corporation where he spent 26 years. He loved his work and took great pride in overseeing the completion of the smallest job, to the more significant locations such as the Fremont bridge, Spokane Mall, Semiahmoo Resort, and the Seattle P.I. building. Bill married Ginger Anderson in 1973, after many years of friendship and courtship. While parked in front of the local jeweler, Bill decided to propose after hours of consulting with his beloved dog Tucker. They were married at his parent's home in Normandy Park, with their golden retrievers at their sides, and their closest family and friends attending. Married for 48 years, Ginger selflessly cared for him until his last breath. Bill was a loyal and loving husband, however, becoming a father was when he found his true calling. He taught his daughters to change a tire, check the oil in their cars, and how to put up a tent in the dark. He took them fishing (ice fishing being their favorite), and never got frustrated when they talked the whole time and scared away the fish. He showed them how to throw a baseball and make a bed with military corners, all the while attending every ballet recital, softball game, drill team performance, and school event. He was the kind of dad that chaperoned school field trips and drove the students in their motorhome, and loved the summer evenings when he and Ginger hosted youth group in their backyard. Bill was silly with his girls when they were little and wanted a playmate, an editor and mathematician when they needed help with schoolwork, and a trusted advisor as they became adults and sought his wisdom. But his years excelling as a dad were simply preparing him for the greatest promotion of his life, the role of "Papa." Becoming a grandpa, Bill's heart exponentially expanded with love, and his patience and awe for his grandkids were truly limitless. From tea parties on the floor, Pie in the Face, and seemingly endless rounds of Uno, to the classic memory match game that fell apart from so much use, he savored every opportunity to simply be their Papa. He attended every school play and event, football game, dance recital, and birthday party. He watched every lesson and game, no matter how basic or introductory. His bathroom mirror constantly littered with post-it notes, reminded him of their activities ensuring he never missed a thing. Papa wanted to be there for it all, and he was. Proudly watching and eager to give praise, never criticism. His family was always his greatest pride, and every member uniquely knew it. Bill loved hunting with his buddies, and camping with his friends and family. He was his best self in places he felt connected to, such as Friday Harbor, Lake Chelan, Salmon La Sac, Lake Kachess, and Banks Lake. He was as much a part of these places as they were him. He relished in close friendships and dug roots deep rather than wide. He relaxed when country music played and was deeply moved by sentimental lyrics. He had an unhealthy relationship with all things chocolate, and the only time you'd ever see him refuse to share was when a chocolate chip cookie was in hand. Bill thrived on routine, and his predictability became an endearing trademark of his dependable character. Bill also excelled at observing and enjoying the silence, he found beauty and meaning simply being in a moment. He never had to apologize for being quiet either, for when he spoke, you knew every word was carefully, intentionally, and lovingly crafted just for you. He knew how to be genuinely supportive when you needed it, and didn't have a judgmental bone in his body. He was gentle and kind in all the ways you imagine true goodness. He is survived by his wife Ginger, his constant, who loved him every day with purpose and integrity. His daughters Leslie Lowe (husband Terry) to whom he gave his gentle spirit and compassionate nature, Ali Yashruti (husband Fadi) gifted with his perseverance and unwavering "stick-to-it-ive-ness," and Amy Snyder (husband Scott) who learned from him the art of stillness, and always met him in the silence. His beloved grandchildren: Adrien who shares his Papa's patience and ability to find the positive in any situation, Alyssa who was entrusted with the art of listening, and giving advice beyond her years, Khadyn who acquired a love of fishing and cars from his Papa (and perhaps a bit of recklessness too), Delayni who was given the gift of friendship - a natural likeability derived from goofiness and an undeniable love of chocolate, Makenzie who inherited her Papa's tender sentimentality, and ability to find order in the chaos, and lastly Addelyn, blessed with her Papa's love of nature, jamoca almond fudge ice cream, and empathic understanding of the world. Additionally, he leaves behind his sister Julie Moyles, brother Tom Le Penske (wife Terri), and sister-in-law Judi Le Penske; his nephew David Le Penske (wife Cherie); nieces Anne Gauthier (husband Bill), Kristin Moyles Janson, and Kelly Sponseller (husband Joey), all whom he adored and loved dearly. He was preceded in death by his brother Steve Le Penske, brother-in-law Warren Moyles, and nephew Michael Moyles (wife Angie). He will also be fondly remembered by a vast network of cousins and extended family, and friends whom he considered to be close as blood. Although his body has been made new and is without pain, an irreplaceable void will always remain in those he left behind. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, August 7th at 11:00, at John Knox Presbyterian Church in Normandy Park. Bill's family welcomes all who wish to pay their respects, to join them in celebrating the life of such an extraordinary man.
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