William "Bill" Dennis Dauenhauer

7/15/1942 - 1/26/2024


It is with saddened heart we share with you the passing of our beloved Bill Dauenhauer on January 26, 2024, at Everett Providence Hospital with his wife Sharon by his side.

Born to Joseph and Ruth Dauenhauer, he spent his childhood years in Wenatchee and teenage years in Bellingham before enlisting in the Army where he served at the Army’s Air Defense Nike base in Kingston, WA. While married to his first wife Judith Mathis Dauenhauer they were blessed with their son, Scott. After being divorced for a number of years he met the love of his life, Sharon Hawkins Thacker, whom he married on August 14, 1987.

Bill enjoyed his life, especially being an entrepreneur and self-made businessman. In the 1970’s, he founded Zepher Industries, a 3-M cable assembly company and wholesale distributor of electronic equipment and components. Later, he co-founded R&D industries, aka “RDI,” along with his partner Rod Routh, which grew from a two-man operation to a leading NW distributor of Hewlett-Packard (HP) products when they won the contract to sell and support HP products to all of the Western Washington Community Colleges, which was later expanded to other colleges, local, and state agencies. In addition to his business accomplishments, he was proud to be the recipient of numerous acknowledgements and awards for the company’s public and civic sponsorships and contributions. After retiring from RDI, Bill and Sharon moved to their family home in Port Townsend. Not being the retiring type after-all, he founded a new company, Custom Building Solutions-NW, to import pre-panelized homes to help find a more affordable and efficient solution to build quality homes.

Bill enjoyed fishing and cruising the San Juan Islands on his 40ft motor yacht with family and friends. One favorite story was being surrounded by a pod of Orcas as he was navigating the boat through harsh weather conditions that had erupted from the sudden onset of small craft warnings off Lime Kiln Park. What had been a beautiful sunny and calm day, suddenly turned into a battle to quickly get to safe harbor. Out of nowhere, the Orcas appeared on both sides swimming along the surface and keeping pace with the boat where they stayed for the excruciating 45-minute journey to calmer water when they suddenly disappeared. With everyone finally safe and able to leave their posts, they rushed to the bridge to ask Bill if he had seen the whales. He said not only had he seen them, but a large male whale had surfaced from beneath the boat positioning itself off the starboard side of the bow and was literally cutting a path through the rough waves perpetrated by the high winds for him to follow. His 8-year-old granddaughter, Alex, who was onboard and praying for their safety, was sure they had been saved by Free Willy. After the harrowing experience, the boat set out to continue on its cruise to Nanaimo, BC, with granddaughter Elizabeth and friend.

Bill was preceded in death by both parents, son Scott Dauenhauer, brother Richard, and mother-in-law Frances Hawkins. He is survived by his brother Frank Dauenhauer, sister Susy Moses, stepchildren Mike Thacker (Rebecca and grandson Mikah), Troy Thacker, Cami Thacker McKee (granddaughters Alexandrea and Elizabeth and great grandson Caleb); Ian Dauenhauer and Heidi Dauenhauer McAfee (Luke), many loving nephews and nieces, his best friend and wife, Sharon, and best buddies, Max and LB, his constant companions on his daily walks to Chetzemoka Park who miss him dearly.

A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. Donations in his honor may be made to Center Valley Animal Rescue or the Humane Society of Jefferson County.