Bill Glass (William Edward) left his body at 9:15 p.m. on Oct. 9, 2013 at the beautiful and peaceful Whatcom County Hospice House after a long and difficult journey with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Bill was born in Auburn, Calif. to Rennie and George “Bill” Glass, the eldest of three brothers, on Nov. 4, 1946.
Bill moved to beautiful Orcas Island in 1991 from Lake Tahoe, California with his wife Gail, dog Annie, and Merit 25 sailboat, Xanadu.
He quickly set out to build a home, relocate his business and studio, The Glassworks, and pursue his passion for sailboat racing and cruising. He was a “partner” with Orcas Island’s Artworks Gallery for over 18 years and is remembered for his beautiful stained glass and beveled windows, lamps, fused glass sculptures, vases, platters, beads and jewelry. True to his name, he explored all aspects of his chosen medium. He created the windows of Orcas Island’s St. Francis’ Catholic Church and those of many local residences. One of his beautiful Craftsman Style lamps has a permanent home in the Orcas Island library’s sun room. He left a legacy of stained-glass windows throughout northern California.
Passionate about sailing, Bill obtained his Coast Guard Master’s license and became a busy and popular charter boat captain (Orcas Sailing Charters) with his Santana 30-30 “Bravo” and later, “Showtime,” a Schock 35. He regularly raced in the Around the County, Shaw Island Classic, Swiftsure, Benson Cup and Friday night sailboat races. His crew appreciated his fun-loving, low key but analytical and competitive nature. He had a ready smile, was quick to laugh and loved sharing with and introducing kids and adults to sailing.
Bill loved the outdoors and nature. He was an enthusiastic sailor, hiker, biker, runner, and cross-country skier. He loved creating glass art, rock walls, gardens and habitats. Maintaining the quality of the island’s natural environment was important to him. He was a volunteer for Island Oil Spill Association, using his maritime skills during containment drills and oil spill responses.
Bill served in the air force during Vietnam. He lost his young brother Don, a Marine, to that tragic war. He graduated from San Juan High in Citrus Heights, Calif. in 1964 and later received his B.A. in recreation administration from Sacramento State College. He opened his first art glass gallery during the mid 1970s in Glenwood Springs, Colo. and shortly after, another in Grand Junction. He moved his studio to Lake Tahoe in the late 1970s because he wanted to sail. As one of his best friends reminisced, “Bill was fiercely independent.”
Bill is survived by his wife of 30 years, Gail; his brother Dave and wife Candy Glass; nieces Ciara, Michelle and Heather; nephew Ian; sister and brother-in-laws Margie Sterlin and Bill Dedman.
A celebration of Bill’s life is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 17 beginning at 2 p.m. in the West Sound Community Center.