Bill was born October 25, 1927, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He and his sister, Grace, were raised by his widowed mother on the outskirts of Oklahoma City. After graduating from Putnam City High School, he attended Oklahoma City University for two years. He married Roberta Skaggs in 1947 and went to work for his father-in-law in the construction business. They had no children. Bill became involved with a little theater group called The Mummers during that time. He rose from playing bit parts to becoming the leading man in several productions, the last of which was Shakespeare’s Othello. He spent spare moments offstage during performances memorizing numerous poems of his favorite poet, Robert Frost, which he loved reciting for friends and acquaintances for the rest of his life.
In 1961 Bill moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, to be with Marj, whom he had loved before he met his first wife. They were married August 5, 1962. There he worked for general contractors as an estimator. After Marj’s two children from her first marriage, were grown, they moved to Baker in 1971 to be associated with The School of the Natural Order. Bill went to work for Lee Engineering, the firm that was surveying power line locations for the soon-to-be Mt. Wheeler Power Company which would bring electric power into White Pine and Millard Counties the first time. Then Bill worked for the power company, first as a lineman and then in the office as Public Affairs manager.. Soon he was called into their office to serve as their Public Affairs manager. In 1981 he became General Manager, the position he held until his retirement in 1990. After retirement he served on the Board of Directors. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Deseret Power, with which Mt. Wheeler is affiliated. Bill was active in the Lions Club. He also belonged to the Chamber of Commerce, serving a term as president.
After retiring to Baker Bill served the community as a member of the TV District, Baker Town Council, and Baker Water and Sewer General Improvement District. Both before and after his retirement, he and Marj enjoyed being narrators for the Ely Community Choir. They also participated in reading events in both Baker and Ely, sharing poetry and story-telling. Bill was active in the School of the Natural Order, serving as President of the Board for several years. During summertime Bill liked growing tomatoes and keeping feeders filled for the many hummingbirds that came to visit.
Survivors include his wife, Marjorie, one stepson, David (Darby) Hess, Vancouver, Canada, three grandchildren: Jeremiah (Juanita) Hess, Jenna (Kevin) Wayland, all of Portland, OR, Alia Breitwieser, Chicago, IL, and three great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Lula Nieswinter Coffman, sister, Grace Coffman, and step-daughter, Shirley Jean Breitwieser.
Interment of cremains will be in the School of the Natural Order cemetery. A celebration of Bill’s life will be held at 11:00 A.M., May 2, 2015 in Baker Hall, Baker, NV. A luncheon catered by the Border Inn will follow the service.
Donations in his name may be made to the School of the Natural Order, Baker, NV 89311 (www.sno.org). We are grateful to all who gave him such excellent at the Kolob Regional Care and Rehabilitation Center, and especially the loving care of Faelynn Kartchner and other hospice workers from Horizon Hospice Specialists.