William (Bud) Lee Hertenstein Sr., entered into rest unexpectedly Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. He was born March 1, 1930, in Rush City, Minn., the youngest child of 16 born to John and Agnes Hertenstein. His father passed away suddenly after suffering a stroke when Bill was two years old. Bill spent his early years in Minnesota on the family farm and fishing from the banks of Rush Lake and Rush Creek. When he was a young man he moved to Othello, Wash., to work on the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. Bill later moved to Grand Coulee to work for the Bureau of Reclamation at the start of construction of the third powerhouse. He soon met and courted Patricia Van Horn and they were married June 8, 1961, and together were blessed with four children: Betty, Terri, Bill Jr., and Randy. They divorced in 1973. Bill continued work at Grand Coulee Dam as a sand blaster until he retired in 1985. In his early retirement years he loved woodworking in his shop. He produced unique handcrafted wood furniture which he passed down to his grandchildren. He built many of his famous “birdhouses” and “fence whirlybirds” for all his family and friends.
In 1988 he met Beverly Merlak at a church function. They were married July 15, 1989. Their union lasted eight years until Bev’s sudden passing in 1997. After that, Bill continued to reside in Coulee City where he pursued his life-long passion of fishing, gardening and camping. He so looked forward to the times he could be downriver or on the lakes with his family and friends teaching them his skills that made him known as “The Fish Whisperer”. All his life he loved to garden and passed that passion down to his children and grandchildren along the way. Then camping – Bill would start planning the next camping trip while he was on one! He would always be there making his famous camp coffee and preparing “the potatoes”!
Bill is survived by one brother, Johnnie of Deer Park, Wash.; children: Betty (Brad) Skjerva of Richland; Terri(Don) Bowman of West Richland, Bill (Gena) Hertenstein Jr. of Benton City, and Randy (Desi) Hertenstein of Grand Coulee; grandchildren: Andrew, Kristopher, Whitney, Chelsea, Chad, Kyle, Lindsey, Johnathon and Christina, as well as a large extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, 14 brothers and sisters and his last wife Bev.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, Feb. 19, at 2 p.m. at the Grand Coulee Seventh-day Adventist Church, corner of Continental Heights and Young St. A reception is to follow the service at the Grand Coulee Senior Center.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world the he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
In lieu of flowers, please make any donations in Bill’s name to the Grand Coulee Seventh-day Adventist Church.