Obituary: William J. Schroeder 


William J. Schroeder 

February 22, 1940 – July 6, 2023


William J. Schroeder passed away July 6, 2023. Bill was born February 22, 1940 in Bellingham to Hugo and Ruth Schroeder. As an only child in rural Whatcom County, Bill spent his youth with his dog and a gun, hunting anything edible. In his teens he was famous for driving fast and using dynamite to blow stumps and creek pools in the greater Custer and Birch Bay area. Bill found fame again much later in life, but this time for driving his Buick well under the speed limit on Birch Bay Drive holding up 5 to 15 cars at a time, to the consternation of his neighbors.

In 1962 Bill married the love of his life, Alice. Their early married years consisted of more fishing and boating than one can imagine in the San Juan Islands and BC Gulf Islands. Bill and Alice were inseparable, with Bill tending perhaps toward “codependent.” In 1972 and 1974 Bill became a father to Sara and Sherie and took over his parents’ farm where he happily farmed beef cows and raised two girls. Bill often lamented that he and Hereford bull were outmanned and outgunned by the estrogen of three women and fifty cows. Thankfully, around the turn of the century his daughters married wonderful men who shared Bill’s love of the outdoors: Marty Kuljis and Jerry Vekved.

Thirty five years of teaching and coaching in the Blaine School District supplied Bill with a great variety of amazing stories. His stories regarding bomb threats in the ’60s, practical jokes among staff and colorful students are fondly remembered and retold by his family. As a teacher Bill truly had a gift for presenting topics simply and clearly, with equal parts humor and discipline.

Bill’s priority in life was being a father and a husband. He never missed his daughters’ sporting events and activities. The family’s summers were spent hurrying to put up hay and then long vacations to Quadra Island to camp and fish. Later, despite health issues, Bill worked hard to make it to the games of his grandchildren. He treasured each grandchild and enjoying farming, clamming, fishing and shooting with them. He was also guilty of feeding them entirely too much sugar and famously letting them drive his car to their baseball practice when they were 14.

For over sixty years Bill loved Alice with a passion that few could imagine. Together, they always had a fire in the stove and time for coffee with friends and visitors. They created a home that was filled with warmth, joy, laughter, Swedish pancakes and friends. Bill leaves a legacy of fatherhood, humor and integrity, along with a barn and few sheds full of ancient tractors and farming equipment, rusty antiques, antique rust, Hot Springs hot tubs and parts, boats, vehicles both old and less-old, and non-operable John Deere lawn mowers. His family is obviously honored to own such fantastic items.

Bill is survived by his wife Alice (Friberg); daughter Sara Kuljis (Marty) and their children Andrew and Emily; daughter Sherie Vekved (Jerry) and their children Hugo, Ivan and Signe.

A memorial will be held July 19 at 3 p.m. at Birch Bay Bible Community Church, 4460 Bay Road, Birch Bay. Memorials may be sent to Birch Bay Bible Community Church Youth Ministry, 4460 Bay Road, Blaine, WA 98230.