Remembering William Ronald Styrk, 1934-2024

Family and friends are remembering Bill Styrk and sharing this remembrance with the community:

Bill Styrk was born on September 23, 1934, on the family farm in Kearsarge, Michigan. The Styrk family later moved to Butte, Montana, where his father worked in the copper mines. Both Kearsarge and Butte were referred to as “Little Finn Towns” due to their high populations of Finnish people. The family finally settled in West Seattle, where Bill and his brother Wally learned to speak English. They attended Cooper Elementary and West Seattle High School. Bill recalled his childhood neighborhood as a tight-knit community where folks had little money, but an abundance of fun, and friendships that lasted a lifetime.

Post High School, Bill joined the Army and served in Germany. After completing his service he returned to West Seattle and became a longshoreman on the Seattle waterfront, often working side-by-side with his brother Wally and his father Karl.

Bill had lifelong fondness for animals. As a boy he routinely saved part of his dinner for the stray dogs in his neighborhood. As an adult Bill rescued a kitten who followed him everywhere for 17 years. He described his beloved St. Bernard dog as a beautiful and faithful companion. Bill was also captivated by Eagles, and collected wood carvings of these majestic birds.

Bill enjoyed retirement, and could often be found at Alki Beach enjoying the sun with a large group of friends. He traveled the US in his motorhome, and spent time in Mexico and Costa Rica. Bill was an avid collector of cars, his favorites being Mercedes and vintage trucks. Bill believed in treating every person he encountered with respect, and helped countless people on their journeys to sobriety.

Bill spent the last 20 years of his life in a beautiful home he built in Laughlin Nevada. He developed strong relationships with his outstanding neighbors. As a lifelong poker player, Bill spent many hours in the casinos of Laughlin and Las Vegas. For 20 years he had a daily routine of getting up at 2 AM and walking 5 miles to avoid the hot desert sun.

In his final weeks Bill experienced the value of good friends, as neighbors provided the help that made it possible for him to remain at home. He also spoke extensively on the importance of family. His brother Wally’s adult children, Pam Crim, Greg Styrk, Lynne Styrk-Crockett, Karen Williams and their families, are his closest relatives. Bill developed a strong bond with his great nieces Mariah and Hannah Crockett. Their visits to Laughlin were spent practicing the Finnish language, organizing the Styrk family genealogy,and putting a smile on Uncle Bill’s face. The VA of Nevada came to the home and had a touching ceremony for Bill, honoring his service to our country. Home Hospice provided outstanding medical care and fellowship.

In his final days Bill reiterated several times that he’d had a wonderful life. He had good friends, and had done everything he wanted to do. He shared many stories and memories. In person and with “Face Time,” Bill was able to see and speak with everyone he wished. During a visit with his nieces and nephew, Bill stopped and said: “In this VERY moment my life is absolutely perfect!”

At the age of 89, Bill died on May 2nd, 2024, just 4 months after the death of his brother Wally. Like Wally, he was surrounded by loving family. Bill was preceded in death by his parents Karl and Ellen Styrk and his brother Wally. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

No services are planned.

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3 Replies to "Remembering William Ronald Styrk, 1934-2024"

  • Alki resident May 19, 2024 (10:25 am)

    So much loss for the Styrk family this year. I’m so very sorry. He sounded just as amazing as Wally was. RIP

  • Just wondering May 19, 2024 (2:07 pm)

    I did not know Mr. Styrk but my grandfather was from Butte, Montana.  He always said that the Finns’ had the best food in their boarding houses!  When they packed lunches for the miners to take with them it always included a piece of pie the size of which was a quarter of the pie!

  • Kristi May 19, 2024 (2:33 pm)

    Bill was a wonderful man and very good friend at one time.  He was a straight up guy, said it like it is and very generous and kind.  I’m sad and sorry we lost touch when he moved from Seattle to Nevada.

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