Cover photo for William Marion Cofer's Obituary
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1939 William 2024

William Marion Cofer

March 24, 1939 — March 11, 2024

“The mountains are calling and I must go” – John Muir

William Marion Cofer was born on March 24, 1939 and died on March 11, 2024 from cancer. He is survived by his wife, children, youngest brother, nieces & nephews, three grandchildren and one great grandson.

William was known professionally as Bill. His family and close friends called him Bud or Buddy. Buddy was born in a log cabin in Huntley, MT on a 110-acre sugar beet farm. His parents and older sister Roberta moved to Seattle when he was two, where years later his younger brother Thompson would join the family. From an early age Buddy was a cowboy and farm hand, working on family ranches in Ferry County on the weekends and during the summer. He was also an Eagle Scout with his best friends (Jim Syck and Jim Goff) and spent his teen years, hiking and climbing every mountain he could in the Olympics and Cascades. They were proud to be

some of earliest members of REI. As an adult he had two bucket list items to Climb Mt. Rainier and hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain. He climbed Mt. Rainier with Lou Whittaker’s company RMI at the age of 60 and walked the 600-mile pilgrimage with his daughter and grandson at the age of 80.

He joined the Army in 1959 and was part of the Army Security Agency, Countermeasure Search and Analysis Unit (a mobile unit) in Germany. It was in Dahme, Germany, at a party to raise money for local orphans, that he met the love of his life, Wilhelma Brusch.

They married on May 12, 1961 in Fuhlsbuttel and moved back to Seattle where they had two children: Kai and Marina.

Buddy drove trucks to deliver ice, managed an apartment complex, and worked for UPS while getting his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington. He also took as many German classes as possible to speak to his wife in her native tongue. And raised his children to be bilingual.

Buddy and Wilhelma both took jobs in Washington, DC. Bud worked for the IRS, retiring as a Branch Chief Level Grade 15 and Wilhelma worked for the German Embassy. After retirement the two dabbled in real estate and antique/collectibles – buying and selling. In total they moved 30 times and owned 14 different homes. Bud always thought moving was the best way to “clean out” stuff that liked to accumulate.

He loved to drive and traversed the United States multiple times in his life. He also loved world travelling, a love which he instilled in his children and grandchildren. Some favorite memories are visits to Poland, Turkey, Belize, Germany (many times), Spain (Gran Canaries, Madrid/Nerja/Malaga/Granada & El Camino – St James Way).

He took his kids camping and taught us all how to make the very best campfires and appreciate the stars, babbling brooks and rivers, and to leave no trace.

Bud was a prolific reader and a life-long learner. His best friend Jim Syck (a 74-year friendship) and he could recite The Cremation of Sam McGee from heart, and did at most of our Holiday gatherings.

He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;

And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request…."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

By the men who moil for gold;

The Arctic trails have their secret tales

That would make your blood run cold;

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,

But the queerest they ever did see

Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge

I cremated Sam McGee……

Buddy was loyal, caring, loving and kind. Kind to everyone. Always. Even at the end of his time with us, he made every staff member at the University of Washington Medical Center laugh and know how grateful he was for their care. The hospital staff, the chemo team, all came by to say goodbye.

Suisse, Dad, Opa, Buddy will never be forgotten and will be forever missed.

Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA.

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