Pickens William “Bill” Irvine arrived in this world on July 2, 1934, at his parent’s house in Seattle, WA. He was the third child and first son born to Pickens Washington and Helen Rose (née Begley) Irvine. The untimely death of his mother in May 1940 left his dad a 33-year old widower with seven children, ranging from age two weeks to 12 years. The younger children were put in Sacred Heart Orphanage in Seattle, while their father worked as a civil servant. It was only on the weekends did they see their father. After five years of widowerhood, his father married Rosa (née Fuller), which allowed the family to be reunited. Their marriage produced three additional brothers for Bill.
As a child of the Depression, Bill understood the importance of having a job. His first employment was in the 5th grade, where he worked as an evening paperboy with the Seattle Times. Route 471 included 12 city blocks – hiking up steep hills, many times during cold and rainy nights. Bill kept this job for three years. He attended Ballard High School, graduating in 1952. After two terms flailing at Seattle University, he dropped out and made the decision to enlist in the US Navy to avoid being drafted into the Army. While working in the ice houses in West Yellowstone, he got the call from the Navy. After a short tour of duty in Korea, Bill’s next station was to be a life-altering assignment. It was at the US Naval Air Station in Atsugi, Japan, where he was an Electronics Technician, he met the lovely Miss Chizuko Yakura. Chizuko “Chiko”, also worked at Atsugi as a secretary. The two had their first date and watched the latest Hollywood spectacular, “Oklahoma!”. After a seven-month courtship, which included learning each other’s cultural norms and intricacies, they
married at Sacred Heart Chapel in Yokohama on November 15, 1958. Their union lasted for over 62 years, almost half as a military family. Bill and Chiko were blessed with five children; Michaela (Vanessa), Margaret (Serdar), Matthew (Debi), Maureen (Mitch), and Monica (Kevin) – affectionately referred to as “The Five M’s”.
Bill’s long Navy career included assignments at NAS Alameda, CA, NAS Norfolk, VA while stationed to the USS Leary (DDR 879), Naval Training Center Great Lakes, IL, USS Estes (AGC 12) home-ported in San Diego, CA, Naval Communications Station Puget Sound on Whidbey Island, USNS Chauvenet (T-AGS 29), Naval Schools Command on Treasure Island (San Francisco, CA), USS Hancock (CVA 19), and finally to Fleet Anti Submarine Warfare Training Center (San Diego, CA). His Naval career is an example of hard work and perseverance. Bill enlisted in 1953 as a Seaman Recruit and attained the highest enlisted rank of Chief Petty Officer. Encouraged by Chiko and his father, Bill applied for and was accepted as a commissioned officer as a Limited Duty Officer and promoted to Ensign, USN. When he retired in 1983, it was at the rank of Commander.
It was during the late 1960’s, while stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Bill and Chiko purchased a wooded lot with a magnificent view of Puget Sound and the surrounding Cascade Mountains. Their vision was to someday build a retirement home in the area they most loved. This dream became a reality in 1992, when Bill retired from the Navy and civilian life (Elydne, Inc). He was an active member at St. Augustine Catholic Church, serving in roles as an Extraordinary Minister and Lector.
He is survived by his five adult children, their spouses, eight grandchildren, two great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by sisters Mary Louise, Katherine, Virginia, and brothers David, Gregory, Jeffrey and John. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Nita, brother Charles, and his beloved wife, Chizuko. He will be genuinely missed by many family members and friends. Bill will join his wife at his final resting place, Fernhill Cemetery on Fidalgo Island, WA. The family would like to thank Hospice of the Northwest for the incredible care and compassion shown to their father.
A Funeral Mass will be held for him on April 13th, at 10 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Oak Harbor.