Obituaries » Willard Allen Schmittler Jr.

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Willard Allen Schmittler Jr.

September 21, 1946 - March 15, 2021

September 21, 1946 – March 15, 2021

Willard Allen “Bill” Schmittler, Jr., 74, passed away early on the morning of March 15, 2021 at his home in Bremerton.
Born September 21, 1946, Willard was preceded in death by his parents, Willard A. Schmittler, Sr. of White County, Illinois, and Adella F. (Rowley) Kehm, of Bremerton, Washington.

Bill was a lifelong resident of Kitsap County. His early years were spent on a farm in Chico, where he had many fond memories of exploring, fishing and ‘roughing it’ on the grounds surrounding his home, and helping his stepdad at the Old Saw Mill on Bucklin Hill. He graduated from West High School in 1964, joining the U.S. Army shortly thereafter at the age of 17. While serving as a Linguistics Specialist, he spent a large amount of time stationed at Herzogenaurach (Herzo) Base in Bavaria, Germany, where he fit right in with the locals on account of his family’s heritage and fluency with the German language. He was trained in languages at the Presidio in Northern California, where he also learned Polish.
Upon leaving the service in 1968, Bill returned to Bremerton, where he met his lifelong love, Deborah M. Morgen. After several years of dating, they were married on April 17, 1971. During that period, he also began his apprenticeship as a Marine Electrician with Shop 51 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, where he worked through the mid-90’s.

As newlyweds, the Schmittlers enjoyed recreating on the water in their Catalina 22-foot sailboat. Bill was also keen on the billiards scene, and an active member of the Black Powder Association and Muzzleloaders groups in the area. He particularly enjoyed dressing in period costume, with a few favorites being the American Revolutionary and Western Frontier eras. In 1977, Bill and Debbie bought their first home in Central Kitsap and welcomed their oldest daughter, Heidi. Daughter Elena was born three years later in 1981.

After his retirement from the shipyard, Bill became involved with newspaper distribution for the Seattle Times and Post Intelligencer. He owned and operated W.A. Schmittler, Inc., a local distributor from 2001-2017.

Bill was quite the ‘early adopter’ and had a passion for computing and tech gadgetry from the early 80’s forward. He was involved in the early days of messaging via the ‘Bulletin Board’, long before the internet was a household term. Bill was the family videographer, most often found behind the lens of his camera, and he spent a great deal of time converting and preserving old film and tape to modern digital media. He was also an avid audiophile, with an extensive music collection encompassing all genres. He liked to compile ‘mix tapes’ of his favorites and had a great ear. Thoughtful and artistic, Bill was an eloquent writer and poet with immaculate calligraphic penmanship. He would often leave notes for his loved ones where they were sure to be found first thing. He had a fine attention to detail, which lent to his accomplishment in charcoal media drawings and model-making, his favorite being RC aircraft. “Grampa Bill” had a clever and off-beat sense of humor; his grandkids will remember him best for his collection of funny hats and dressed up in lederhosen for Oktoberfest.

Bill is survived by his wife of 49 years, Deborah M. (Morgen) Schmittler; sister Vickie (John) Bushnell; two daughters, Heidi I. (Jason) Dietzman and Elena M. (Brian) Williams; grandsons Jayden and Trystan Dietzman, and granddaughter Avery Williams.

One of Bill’s final wishes had been to celebrate his and Debbie’s 50th wedding anniversary. In commemoration of that milestone, a Celebration of Life will be held in his honor April 17, 2021 at the Bremerton Elks Community Room from 1 p.m. Friends and family are welcome.

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