Stories About Bill

the ways he inspired us

If you have a story you would like to contribute, we invite you to submit it via email.

From Margaret Shannon

Dear Lisette,

My heartfelt condolences to you in the loss of your Dad.

I had the honor of meeting Bill when I was becoming a licensed mental health counselor in the mid 1980’s. He served as a consultant when I was working with children. He was a special man, not only competent in his field and a godsend to a new practitioner like myself, but a kind and compassionate man. That was his finest gift to the children and people he served.

May he Rest In Peace and in the arms of Love.

Blessings to you and your family,

Margaret Shannon, CSJP, (LMHC, retired)
Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

From Erica Hunter

Leslie reached out to tell me Bill had recently passed so I wanted to reach out. I realize that I didn’t really “know” Bill as he was once living as his fully authentic self, or the kind of relationship you ultimately had with him in adulthood, but when I picture your dad in my memory he has a wide open smile and a warm laugh and a goofy sense of humor. I remember his gold necklace and his hip clothes, his Alfa Romeo and the tenor of his voice and his amazing record collection – all the antithesis of my dad, so impressively radical and awesome in my young eyes. Your father was kind to me at an incredibly awkward yet formative stage in my life and made me feel welcome at your home so I am truly saddened to hear that he is no longer with you. 

Aside from the unhappy news, Leslie’s message provoked a flood of very fond memories. Those of our friendship and the times I spent with you, Bill and Mariette and the cats. 

I hope you, Will and Zane are doing well aside from the inevitable sadness, and are able to stay safe in these uniquely trying times. 

​With condolences, love and warmest regards to you all.

From Ruth M. Benefield

During Bill’s time as Director of Child Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Seattle Children’s Hospital, I was his administrative partner.  He was a joy to work with…..always kind, thoughtful, committed to the Mission of the hospital and to increasing the understanding amongst medical and administrative leadership to the importance of mental health. Bill also possessed extraordinary skill clinically that was less understood and available within the medical community.

Bill considered moving to Mirabella in his retirement. I was excited by that possibility as were many of his physician peers that also live at Mirabella. Alas…..Horizon House won out and I have little doubt he contributed mightly to that community.

RIP….My friend.

From Kathleen Southwick

Bill joined Crisis Clinic after his “first retirement” and worked for us for a number of years as one of our child psychiatrists who consulted with our hospital authorization program funded by King County. I always remember Bill for his positive attitude and great smile. He brought sunshine into the office on the rare occasions he came in. I think he worked with us for so long because he could do his job via the phone!

He had so many interests and was a true community leader. All of us who worked with Bill at Crisis Clinic send our heartfelt condolences to his family.

Kathleen Southwick
Former Executive Director, Crisis Clinic

From Elinor Ellie Graham, MD

Bill’s dedication to working with under-resourced families and communities led to a great collaboration with the Harborview Children and Teen Clinic where he came weekly, along with residents in psychiatry, to see our children and teens who could not get psychiatric services in the community as Medicaid did not cover behavioral health services.

This effort established one of the first models of “integrated” health care in pediatrics where patients could get behavioral care and medical care at the same site.

Many of our families were immigrants and mental health conditions did not have cultural acceptance or understanding. I well remember one Ethiopian family whose teen started to have hallucinations and aberrant behavior. The family thought that they might be possessed by supernatural beings. Bill saw the teen and diagnosed schizophrenia and clearly explained the condition and got them and the teen to agree to try medications. It made a transformation in his behavior within a few weeks.

From Ben Black

Some favorite memories of Bill were celebrating Stonewall’s 50th Anniversary at the Seattle Pride parade. It was such a happy, fun, and joyous day of celebration. We marched with the Children’s Hospital contingent, laughing and smiling. I felt so honored to be with him and his family.

Bill and I also attended the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra: Tribute to Billie Holiday Concert and then headed up to Pike Place Market to celebrate Lisette’s 50th Birthday Bash. I also enjoyed talking to him about social issues, politics, family, and community. He was a warm, humble, loving, kind, and very dignified man. I am so grateful for his legacy and all the communities he was part of. He will be greatly missed.