William Bumbalough on a hike last summer in Skagway with friends and family. Photo courtesy Becky Jensen

William C. Bumbalough, Jr.

July 1988 - April 2012

William C. Bumbalough, Jr., age 23, died tragically during the early morning hours of Sunday, April 22, 2012. A resident of Seabeck, Wash. since 2001, William is survived by his parents Bill and Kim Bumbalough, sisters Meika, Amber, and Hannah Bumbalough, younger brother Wyatt Bumbalough, and grandparents Willard and Kazuko (Judy) Bumbalough of Chico, Calif., and Ray and Linda Calver of Skagway, Alaska. He is missed by aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends from Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania in the east, Sparta, Tennessee to the south and west to King Cove, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.
Born in Whitehorse, Yukon, on July 15, 1988, William spent his earliest years in Skagway, where he formed his lifelong love of all things in nature. He learned to hunt and fish with his father and grandfather Ray and looked forward to every opportunity to spend quality time with them doing what they loved. He hiked the mountains and hills around Skagway with his mom, grandmother Linda and his cousins, growing to love the outdoors by seeing, hearing and touching the beauty all around him. He spent summers fishing the local waters around Skagway and trolled for salmon with his Grandpa Will onboard the Norm.
When the family moved to Seabeck, William quickly learned the best places to throw out a line and loved to bring home the catch of the day to share with family and friends. He loved to bring fish, shrimp, crabs, clams, oysters, and squid to his Grandma Judy to see her whip up a seafood feast for all the family to share.
An artist and a craftsman, William was always creating nature-themed art that he shared with his family. He cared deeply for his sisters and younger brother and was always there to lend a hand when they needed it. Distance did not change his connection with his Alaska cousins either, as William always knew "what was up" with them as well. He returned to Skagway last summer and worked for the municipal public works crew. He enjoyed hikes with family and friends.
Friends, like family, were all important to William. He was a big man with a huge heart and a gentle soul who would do anything for you and give you his last dollar or the shirt off his back without giving it a second thought. Whether it was with his buddies down at Turie's Coffee Shop in Seabeck or any of his other hangouts in the area, William was at home with everyone. He touched us all and we are all better for it.
William's last day was a great one. He spent the day helping out his grandparents before going fishing with younger brother Wyatt. Together they hauled in a "gigantic" trout which they took home, filleted, and cooked up to share with the family. As he often did, William quietly slipped away to go hang out with friends. Those same friends like to say that "Heroes may be forgotten but legends never die." To them and many others, William Bumbalough was becoming a Seabeck legend.
A candlelight vigil was held the evening of Wednesday, April 25 at the Anderson Hill soccer fields. A Celebration of William's life was held at Klahowya Secondary School on Saturday, April 28.
A memorial in Skagway is being planned around William’s birthday in July. A fund has been set up in William’s name at the Skagway Wells Fargo branch to assist the family with funeral expenses. — Submitted by the family