It is with great sadness the Local I-24 and the WSCFF announce the Line-of-Duty Death of Bill Whitney.
William “Bill” Sawyer Whitney was born May 4, 1955 in Farmington ME to Lawrence Roscoe Whitney and Evelyn Jean McNae Whitney. He spent his formative years in Seattle WA where he excelled in football and shenanigans with close friends who became family. During his high school football career, he and the rest of the Nathan Hale Raiders won the Metro League Championship. He went on to attend Spokane Falls Community College where he played offensive line for the Spartans. His team won the league championship in 1973, and that team was later inducted in to the NWAACC Hall of Fame. However that was not his only brush with greatness.
Bill became a member of Hanford patrol and moved to Richland in 1976. He worked on patrol for seven years before joining the Hanford Fire Department in 1983. During his time on patrol he caught the eye of a beautiful, young firefighter named Betty Ann Waite. Betty, being the modern woman she is, asked her matchmaker, Steve Ingrahm, introduce them. He did, and five months later they tied the knot surrounded by close friends at the Hitching Post in Coeur d’Alene, ID. A few years later they welcomed their son, Cooper James Whitney. After that, they completed their family by welcoming Molly Ann Whitney. This is where Bill truly exemplified greatness. He was the absolute best husband and father that anyone could hope to have or be. In the Hall of Fame of Life, he is a shoe-in.
Bill took great pride in being a firefighter alongside his brothers and sisters of Local I-24. As much as he loved his family at home, he also loved his family at the fire station. He built a powerful bond with the men and women he served with for so many years, and that same family came together to support their brother in his greatest time of need. The gratitude Bill and his family feel for all of the love and compassion shown by these great men and women knows no bounds.
Bill touched so many lives in his short time with us all, as evidenced by the outpouring of support during his final fight with cancer. Bill passed away peacefully on August 25, 2016, in his home surrounded by his wife, children, and so many others who cared deeply for the man who lived vibrantly for all of his years. He was an avid golfer, a Maui enthusiast, an all-around sports fanatic, a lover of Coor’s Light, an exceptional firefighter, but, more than that, he was someone you could always count on for anything.
Bill is survived by his loving wife, Betty, his children Cooper (Robin), and Molly Judkins (Dennis, and expected grandson, Sawyer), his brother Gary Whitney, sister Wendy Anderson, a loving extended family and countless friends. A special thank you goes out to Danny and Tammy Elmo, Bill Swift, and Virgil Marcotte for all of the hours spent as steadfast friends before, during, and after his final fight.
Between now and then, until I see you again, I’ll be missing you.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the WSCFF Burn Foundation. PO Box 33731, Seattle, WA 98133.