William C. (Bill) Mahler, a Seattle native and Port Ludlow resident who centered his life on family and community service, died Sept. 21, 2021 after struggling for many years with a multitude of health challenges.
Fishing was one of Bill’s greatest joys. Days before his death, his wife Susan dreamed he spoke to her from heaven.
“Susan,” he told her excitedly. “It’s a big lake!”
Bill was born Sept. 18, 1953 to Harold and Margie Mahler. He joined three older sisters, who adored him. Home was a house in Ballard, at the foot of Phinney Ridge. He played baseball throughout his youth, and was on the team at Ballard High School, from which he graduated in 1971.
Bill and Susan began dating early in their senior year at Ballard. They were together for the rest of his life.
Bill graduated from Central Washington University in 1975 with a degree in sociology. He and Susan married that August.
Bill soon embarked on a career in nonprofit management, first with Campfire USA. He later served as director of the Ballard Hospital Foundation, vice president of the Children’s Home Society of Washington, and director of the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Hadlock.
He was a board member of the American Red Cross, Northwest Chapter, and a member of several service organizations, including Ballard Rotary and East Jefferson County Rotary.
Bill and Susan raised their daughters, Jennifer and Kristen, in Renton. A proud and devoted father, he attended every school concert, sporting event, drill competition, and father-daughter event, including Dads’ Weekends at Washington State University.
Health problems forced Bill, by then living in Port Ludlow, to retire early from work — but he didn’t retire from life. Bill volunteered at Martha and Mary Health and Rehab Center in Poulsbo, among other things organizing a poker night for residents. He bought the winners prizes out of his own pocket.
He also volunteered at his grandsons’ school, Peter Kirk in Kirkland, serving as class “banker” to help first-graders learn about money.
Bill adored his grandsons, and they in turn adored “Papa.” He played with trucks with them on the floor. He attended almost every one of their baseball, soccer, basketball, and football games.
Bill loved sports, travel, golf, fishing, NASCAR and a good scary movie. But, most of all, he loved time with his family.
Survivors include his wife, Susan Mahler, of Port Ludlow; daughters Jennifer Brummitt (Matt) of Kirkland and Kristen Lee (Mark) of Lynnwood; sisters Donna Lima of Camano Island, Linda Rawley (Bill) of Cashmere, and Margie Mazza (Pete) of Bellevue; grandsons Jackson, Chase, Hudson and Nick Brummitt and Anderson Lee; and many in-laws, nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved.
Bill’s family wishes to thank the staff at St. Michael Medical Center in Silverdale, who provided Bill with compassionate care during his final days despite the challenges posed to the hospital by COVID.
Donations in Bill’s name may be made to Martha and Mary, PO Box 127, Poulsbo, WA 98370, or Chimacum Backpacks for Kids, PO Box 595, Chimacum, WA 98325.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held next spring.
Bill left the world as he entered it, adored and loved. Now he’ll spend eternity fishing on that big lake.