Tony William “Bill” Milanowski, age 78, passed away at his Pe Ell, Washington, home on the morning of July 25, 2022, one week short of his 79th birthday after a long, courageous struggle with heart disease and other medical issues.
Bill was born on Aug. 1, 1943, in Tacoma, Washington, to Tony and Jeanette Foss Milanowski. He was raised in Pe Ell and graduated from Pe Ell High School in 1961 where he lettered in sports. After a two-year courtship, he married the love of his life, Kristi Ann Keller, of Pe Ell, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on May 15, 1971. Their union produced a beloved son, Tony William Jr. The family made their home in North Seattle until they returned to their hometown of Pe Ell in 2003 and built their dream home.
From the time he could walk, Bill loved the outdoors and spent many hours “up the river.” His enjoyments included hunting, fishing, foraging for wild blackberries and chanterelles, razor clam digging, gardening, working crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and watching sports. He was especially proud of the cherry tomatoes grown in his Seattle garden and generously shared the yearly bounty with friends, neighbors and co-workers. Bill wore many hats and excelled at everything he set his hand to. He loved working the outdoor barbecue grill, playing poker, pinochle and cribbage, shooting pool, and from time to time, enjoyed a fine cigar and glass of port. Bill and Kristi enjoyed winery tours and made many trips to Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas, some profitable, some, not so much, but they always had fun. Along with his good buddy, Daryl Kittle, of Seattle, the men coached the Little League teams their sons played on and sport fished in Nootka Sound, Alaska, and on Puget Sound.
Bill was neither lazy nor idle. During his high school years, he earned extra money running a trap line, raising rabbits and chickens, selling eggs and delivering newspapers on his bicycle.
After high school graduation, Bill worked a stint in the woods and attended Centralia College. He enlisted in the United States Army and spoke fondly of the time spent in Germany, especially the German beer. After being honorably discharged from the Army in 1965, he returned to Pe Ell and went back to work in the woods. One day, while standing waist-deep in snow, he decided this wasn’t what he wanted to do the rest of his life and headed north. He quickly found a job working at Sea-First Bank in downtown Seattle. When he saw Pacific Northwest Bell, known as Ma Bell at the time, was hiring, he went for an interview and was hired. In 1998, Bill retired as a first line manager after 30 years of dedicated service with U.S. West. When asked what he did for a living, his favorite reply was, “I supply dial tone to downtown Seattle.” When he retired, it took three people to replace him.
Bill was an animal lover, especially dogs and cats. He shared many amusing stories about his family dogs, German Shorthair Pointers, Sport and Prince.
Bill was a wonderful, honorable man, friend, son, brother and an amazing soulmate and devoted father. If he had a fault, it was that his generosity knew no boundaries.
On Bill’s behalf, his son and wife want to thank Randy Coady, of Pe Ell, for his devotion, care and concern, love, friendship, driving Bill to doctor appointments in Olympia and always being there for them, no matter what the circumstance. You are our rock. A special thank you to Devin Peterson, of Pe Ell, for always being a phone call away and picking up the pace when Bill’s health prevented him from tending to outdoor chores.
Bill was preceded by his parents, Tony and Jeanette Milanowski. He is survived by his loving wife, Kristi, of the family home, and son Tony, of Seattle, as well as special friend, Randy Coady, and PHS classmates and lifelong friends, Ken Miller, of Dryad, Washington, and Jack Coady, of Toledo, Washington.
In compliance with his final wishes, there will be no funeral service. He wished to be cremated. His ashes will be scattered in a private location of his choice. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Bayview Funeral Home, Raymond, Washington. Remembrances may be made to the American Heart Association.
No more pain. No more suffering. Fly with the angels, my darling, until we meet again, I love you, Kristi.
To view the obituary, please go to chronline.com/obituaries.