William James Aylward, III

image of William James Aylward III

William James Aylward III

William James Aylward III passed away suddenly on October 5, 2019 at the age of 59 from a pulmonary embolism.

Bill was born December 23, 1959 in Waukegan (Great Lakes), IL. He graduated from the University of Washington and worked for the government as an Athletic Director in Washington state and worked in Europe. Bill was an extremely talented musician whose passion for music was a gift he shared with all. His fun-loving nature and amazing sense of humor (and great story telling) drew all people to him. He will be greatly missed.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, William and Margaret and is survived by his sisters Margaret Calhoon, Pat Gunn, Susan Milan, Lora Mertens and his beloved children Casey, Connor and Bailey.

Please join us for a Memorial Vigil and Celebration of Life on Sunday, October 13th at Barton Funeral Home at 14000 Aurora Ave N at 6:00 PM for a slide show, music and sharing all the great memories. Catholic Funeral Mass will be held Monday at 11 AM at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church at 8900 35th Ave NE in Seattle, followed by a reception and procession to Calvary Cemetery.

7 Responses to “William James Aylward, III”

  • Todd B Benson says:

    The Bill I knew…

    One of the kindest, funniest, funnest, talented and devoted men I’ve ever known. I remember quite well meeting Bill at the Sandpoint Navy Base in 1990 where he worked as the sports, aquatics and fitness manager. As I walked into that gym one afternoon, I could hear this exceptional laugh coming from one of the corridors. Immediately, Bill approached me and we started a conversation. From that day forward, Bill was my friend and I NEVER got tired of hearing his incredible laugh!

    Bill had a way with people – he loved to have great conversations, listen and to tell stories, and to play music, of course! He was an amazing artist and his passion for music was in his blood. I remember several parties where Bill would immediately be attracted to a piano in the room (we were both single then, so he was equally…well almost…attracted to the girls!). He’d start pushing on that keyboard…everything from Jazz to Elton John to Billy Joel…to just about whatever. He’d have people gathered around in a minute to listen to his music and to be around a guy with a lot of positive energy. People were attracted to Bill and he was so darn fun-loving. Although, at that time, I did hear some good stories from Bill about some of his rowdier times in the bars with some of his childhood friends who I later had the pleasure of getting to know (Bob & Kelly to name a couple), where Bill would tell me about a few bar brawls that would take place on occasion! Hard to imagine that Bill could ever be in a brawl, but being 21 and full of piss and vinegar (as my parents used to say!) and combined with “a little” beer…well, I suppose anything could happen!

    Bill and I became roommates and those were really some fun times! I won’t (and probably shouldn’t!) share all of those stories, but let me just say that it was a great time of life with my friend Bill. He was always interested in my strong relationship with my dad…that we went fishing and hunting and such together. I once asked Bill if he’d like to go grouse hunting with me up at the Navy base at Jim Creek (he’d never been and that was in the day when we could hunt on a Navy base!). He glowed with excitement but admitted he’d never been. “No worries” I said, and off we went with my shotgun. As we drove, I was explaining to Bill all of the rules about gun safety and the important rules (like never point the shotgun at me!). Well, sure enough, we came upon a group of grouse and I quickly handed the shotgun to Bill and said to hurry up, take aim and take a shot. Well, he was pretty nervous and took aim, but just as he was about to shoot the birds started to fly. I said point to the sky and take a shot (he was hesitating!). So…he shot…and not one but two grouse fell to the ground. Bill quickly rushed over and picked up the two birds. Never a prouder moment for Bill than to say that he shot two birds with one shot! He told that story for years after and always wanted to return to the woods and hunt.

    Fast-forward through many years of both work and friendship experiences and many stories in between during that time, after Bill and I were both married. Bill found out he was going to be a dad for the first time. He was so unbelievably proud and happy – his dream of having a family and kids was coming into focus. He was nervous as heck, but so excited. He wanted nothing more than a family and to be a devoted father. From then on…Casey, Connor and Bailey…your dad was so incredibly proud to have you on this earth. He was totally committed to being your dad, supporting you, being there for you, and encouraging you to become anything that your hearts desired. He spoke of each of you in our every conversation. Really! I have great stories that I’d love to share with each of you someday – your dad was an amazing guy and he loved you so, so much. I admired Bill for his devotion to his family and admired him for the positive relationships that he developed in every social and work setting.

    Bill was extremely well-liked and respected during his many years with the Navy Recreation, Sports and Fitness profession. His loyalty to serving Sailors and families was unmatched. He cared deeply about serving others…and he did for many years. When I shared the news of Bill’s passing within our Navy community, I received messages from former colleagues of Bill’s speaking of the incredible person they knew Bill to be, grateful to the professional contributions he made to the Navy during his career and grateful for the friendship with Bill.

    To Casey, Connor and Bailey – I hope to share some fun-loving stories with you someday about your dad. He was one of a kind. And to his sisters and extended family, I know how much he loved and cared for you as well. I certainly miss the Bill I knew and he will remain embedded in my mind and heart forever, as I’m certain he will be in yours.

    I’m so sorry that I will be out of town and can’t be in attendance. God Bless Bill and his family.

    Thank you.

    Todd Benson
    Personal Friend of Bill’s

  • Lynnette DeShaw says:

    Going back through pictures and videos of Bill when the kids were small was so wonderful. Videos of him teaching Casey how to play baseball, teaching Connor how to drum with crayons on a lunchbox, and teaching Bailey the song “You Are So Beautiful”. Great memories. Great times. There is no doubt that he is in heaven playing music with Saint Cecilia, Patron Saint of Musicians.

  • Debra Howze says:

    Bill conducted my first interview with Morale, Welfare and Recreation in 1993. Little did I know that he would be my mentor, manager,and friend in Fitness, Sports & Aquatics(MWR)for the next 21 years.

    His leadership skills were spot-on. His macro management style was so refreshing to an employee like me that wanted to follow in his steps. Bill always gave his everything to his staff.

    I owe my success and professional growth, of my 21 year career with MWR, to “James Aylward,III”.

    And our friendship outside of work was absolutely filled with crazy times and memories with many friends and workmates! On occasion, a few adult beverages were involved!

    Oh…And about our many annual work travels to the ABC Conference in Orlando Florida; how do you say educational, professional, wild & groovy in one sentence???? Our secrets will always be safe with me!!!


    Big kisses, hugs and love to my friend Bill.

    Deb Howze

  • Marilynn Carlson says:

    I went to Nathan Hale High School with Bill and remember him as such a friendly and caring man. He always treated me with kindness and respect. We also ran into each other at the Sandpoint Naval Air Station and he was his usual fun and kind self. I am so sorry at his passing, we need more people like him in this world.

  • Bob Froelicher says:

    I had the opportunity to work with Bill in Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation on two occasions. The first time we worked in the Great Northwest. I was working at Naval Station Everett, known as “The East Sound” and Bill was working in the West Sound AKA “The Dark Side” at the Bangor Submarine Base. Several years later we worked together at Naval Support Activity Gaeta, Italy. Bill was my sponsor when I arrived, so of course he showed me all of the great restaurants and a couple of bars. Bill had an infectious laugh and a great spirit. I’d heard he played several instruments, but the drums seemed to be his passion at the time. He even played in a band with some American Sailors and a couple of Italians. I can remember multiple times being with Bill, and there would be a song playing in the background. All of a sudden Bill would stop the conversation and put up his hands and say, “listen”! Everyone at the table would freeze and listen to a few beats of the song, more than likely a drum or guitar solo, and then Bill would announce, with a satisfied look on his face, “Great Licks”. And then the conversation would pick right back up, but Bill didn’t want any of us to miss that little piece of beauty. $10 Bucks says that Bill is already in trilling the people around him with music.

  • Clelia Vinario says:

    The MWR Gaeta, Italy Team Remembers Bill!

    The MWR Gaeta Team in Italy has wonderful and fond memories of times spent with Bill!
    His joyful expressions, delightful tunes, and heartwarming mannerism will always be remembered!
    Please accept our sincere sympathies for the loss of our dear friend Bill.

  • Karen L Gonzalez says:

    Bill was my best friends ex-husband. I first met him in the early 1980’s when he and Lynnette started dating. I was there for their wedding and the birth of their three wonderful children, Casey, Conner and Bailey. Bill had a sense of humor that would keep you laughing all night and his musical talents were amazing. I still remember the time he came over to our home, sat down at the piano and started playing the theme song from “Peanuts”. We still have his recording. He is now in heaven playing for the angels and those who have passed before him. He will be missed.

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