William E. Smith, 86, of Onalaska, Washington, was called to be with his Lord on Aug. 27, 2021. Bill was born in Maxville, Montana, to Elmer Lorane and Mary Elizabeth Smith, on Aug. 3, 1935.
As a young boy, his family moved to the Pacific Northwest where Bill and his siblings had many adventures growing up on the western shore of Lake Sammamish. Being avid outdoor enthusiasts, the family also spent a great deal of time hunting, fishing and camping together.
In 1954, Bill married Sally Larsen, from across the lake. Next came children, three girls and a boy. To support this young family, Bill pursued a job with what is now called the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife where he worked in the fish hatchery division for close to 20 years. During this time he also served in the Navy Reserves and as a wildlife agent. Bill worked at five different hatcheries around the state. This, of course, meant the same number of relocations for the family.
The 1970s held some profound changes for Bill. His and Sally’s marriage ended, Bill found faith in Jesus Christ and in 1976, he married Cora Extine. Meeting the Lord changed everything for Bill. The unique elements of his character came to life as he followed the Lord with fearlessness, bold devotion, service and love. While acquiring a diploma in bible from Multnomah School of the Bible, he and Cora began a church planting ministry in Lewis County. The number of home bible studies, counseling sessions, weddings, funerals and other meetings extending from Packwood to Pe Ell are innumerable. During this time, Bill also acted as a sheriff department chaplain, notifying and comforting families who were facing tragedy and loss.
Bill’s love and devotion shined brightest in the way he fathered his family. He had a great desire to know all of them and for all of them to know him. Praying for and initiating contact or conversation with as many as he could was always on his mind. He was indeed a rock and his grand and great-grand kids adored their “Bopa.” Of course, his greatest longing for his family was for them to know Jesus, the one who loves. The one who saves. The one who is comforting him now. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Bill is survived by his wife Cora Smith (Extine); children Sherri (Mikal) Aust, Jean (Steve) MacLurg, Jeff (Melody) Smith, Wendy (Jim) Pea; grandchildren Liz (Aaron) Lyon, Marcus (Nadia) Aust, Stephanie (Paul) Somers, Ian MacLurg, David (Kim) MacLurg, Daniel MacLurg, Natalie (Trevor) Stedman, Deacon (Ashley) Smith, Andrea (Eric) Scott, Kelly (Todd) Kelley, Tara (Brennan) Keller; 30 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Bill is preceded in death by his parents, Mary (Stanford) and Elmer L. Smith; brothers Bob and Dave Smith; and sister Gerri Larson.
A celebration of life service will be held at the Onalaska Middle School gymnasium on Sept. 25, 2021 at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to consider a gift of support to the addiction, homeless, and prison work of Harvest Ministries. Checks can be made to Shoestring Valley Community Church, with a note “For Harvest Ministries,” SVCC, 104 Frase Road, Onalaska, Washington, 98570.
The family also encourages you to follow every precaution if you plan to attend the service, as it is likely to be a large, indoor gathering. If the need arises for any changes to take place concerning the service, those changes will be posted in the “comments” section of Bill’s obituary, which can be found on The Chronicle’s website at www.chronline.com/obituaries.