William Patrick O’Brien: 1940-2024 – Edmonds Beacon

William “Bill” O’Brien passed away peacefully on April 23, 2024, at the age of 84. Bill is survived jointly by his wife of 38 years Barbara, daughter Stacy and son-in-law Chris Coffman; sons Steve and Brady; daughter-in-law Tami; grandchildren Kyle and Megan; and stepson Shane Salenjus. He was predeceased by stepson Yancy Salenjus.

Bill grew up in Lake City and followed in his father’s footsteps. Like his father, he became a baker (for hostess) and firefighter, joining the Seattle Fire Department in 1967. Bill completed his 30-year career as captain of Ladder 10 in 1997.

He left a lasting impression on the Seattle Fire Department, with a long list of people he recruited, trained and mentored along the way.

Bill had a way of getting people’s attention. This was highlighted by the various nicknames people gave him over the years, such as Mongo, Basic Bill, Lumpy, Billy Boy and Wild Bill – all of which he accepted with great humility.

Bill had an innate ability to get almost anything working, but often moved on to the next project before the current project was completed. Bill loved old cars and spent a lot of time restoring his Studebakers and his ’39 Chevy. It took a certain kind of courage to ride with him in these cars, as evidenced by the time his brakes failed while descending a long steep hill in West Seattle, leaving him with one of his Studebakers in total.

Bill was a devoted husband, father and surrogate father figure/coach to several neighborhood children. His charisma and strict but fun attitude were just the right combination to create a devoted following of young people who to this day speak of his strong influence in their lives. Holding you accountable with the expectation that you fulfill your potential was his specialty.

From scout leader to coaching youth sports and mentoring aspiring firefighters, his energy was contagious and an inspiration to many. He has helped you reach your highest potential by leading by example and showing you that you will never be beaten until you quit. Perseverance was his superpower, he never gave up even when defeated.

A true classic, Bill will be missed but lives on in the stories of those he influenced.

A celebration of life is announced on Facebook. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Seattle’s Bravest Charity (SFD Honor Guard & SFD Pipes and Drums: www.seattlesbravestcharity.com).