It’s scheduled for 3pm Saturday afternoon. Bothell First Lutheran will be packed with friends, family, church-members and more as we celebrate the life of Bill Strothman.
Since his life ended several weeks ago, I’ve thought about him often.
Bill and I were close in age. I think he had a one year lead. To me, his passing is yet another reminder that we should take nothing for granted. Each day, every day, is a gift. It could all be gone tomorrow. But you don’t think of it that way, not that it could be over. That’s the negative side of the equation. It’s that you are blessed to have what you have now, to be where you are, with all of your life experiences intact.
I’ve thought about, “What happens when we’re at Bill’s service and they say, ‘Would anyone like to say something?'” I know what I would say, I’m just not sure I’d get it out.
I’ve known Bill & Nora Strothman a lot of years. We go back to the University of Washington days, when we all Communications majors cutting our teeth on mass media at the same time. We worked together on a student TV show called, “Speakout.” When Fridays rolled around and we finished taping another show, we’d go celebrate on “The Ave” at a place called The Pitcher House, which had a Happy Hour that featured $1 pitchers.
Bill, Nora and I attended the same church for quite a few years, Bothell First Lutheran, where his service will be held tomorrow. We chatted often, but I would give anything to be able to hear those conversations again. I just remember thinking how cool it was that, one day we were college buddies, and here we are, years later, raising kids together in the same church.
When I left the Bothell area, I didn’t see the Strothmans very often. I made to include them at an open house at my Bothell home in 2007. Occasionally, we’d bump into each other at the Bothell Freedom Festival parade on the 4th of July, where I’ve been the parade announcer for decades. Come to think of it, I have copies of those parades and I just might have to dig them out and look for Bill.
We stayed in touch, but didn’t see each other often in recent years. When I think of Bill Strothman in the years to come, and I will, it will be the Bill from the UW days….and the Bill I imagine the way he would be today. His legacy was how he told a story. So, as the events of the Oso mudslide tragedy are reported, I just can’t help but wonder: how would Bill have told this story?
Those who knew him also know the magnitude of the person we lost. But we were also fortunate enough to know the caliber of the person he was.
While we mourn his passing, there was also an incredible life that requires that we celebrate and remember. No worries, Bill. We’ll remember.
And if I could say all that at his service, I would. But I’m pretty sure I will not even come close.
At least now you know what I was thinking.