Cover photo for Willa Mae Buitenveld's Obituary
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Willa

Willa Mae Buitenveld

d. September 14, 2012

93, passed away Sept. 14, 2012 at Harrison Hospital, Bremerton WA. "Billie" was born August 19, 1919 in the family farm house on the Yellowstone River near Worden, Montana to Walter and Eula Jane Howard. Her brothers Clyde, Curtis and Clifford dubbed her Billie and it stuck with her throughout her life. She graduated from Eastern Montana College of Education in 1938 with diploma in Elementary Education. She married her soul mate William Maxwell (Max) Buitenveld on December 26, 1939 in Billings, Montana.Billie and Max moved their family to Bainbridge Island in 1951. They were active members of the Congregational Church where Billie played the organ and sang in the choir. She taught in the Bainbridge Island School District before starting her private pre-school. She taught private piano lessons for many years. Billie was involved in the Head Start program and helped with fund raising and volunteered many hours of teaching time to ensure the continuation of the program when the federal funds stopped. Billie moved her private preschool into her home and called it the "Gingerbread House" which became known simply as "Billie's School." She retired from teaching at age 78, but continued to be an advocate of early education. She filled her time volunteering in the local and state Grange, the Evergreen Singers and the Senior Citizen group.Billie will be remembered for many wonderful qualities including her determined spirit, her curiosity for learning and enthusiasm for life. Illness and life challenges did not slow her: she battled the effects of many surgeries, crippling arthritis, and breast cancer with determination. Through it all she remained positive and embraced life. She loved being surrounded by family and friends and was always the first one to propose a party. She enjoyed going to lunch with her friends, playing the piano, and raising a toast to a good time. At 93 she was still a force to be reckoned with. She has touched the lives of many and will be missed by all who knew her.Billie was preceded in death by her husband Max, her daughter Sally Simpson and her three brothers Clyde, Clifford and Curtis. She is survived by her sons Curtis (Kay) of Poulsbo WA, Harlan (Betty) of Shelton, WA, and Stephen (Debra) of Rolling Bay, WA, her 9 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.The family would like to thank the physicians and staff at Harrison for the wonderful care they provided her and the family in her last days.Family and Friends are invited to attend a celebration of her life to be held October 14, 2012 at 1:00PM at Kiana Lodge. The family suggests contributions to the Island School or other charity of your choice.

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