William (Bill) Edward Rutledge


image of William Edward Rutledge

William Edward Rutledge

William (Bill) Edward Rutledge died on May 26, 2024, in Edmonds, WA. He was surrounded by his large and loving family as he transitioned to his next adventure.

At the center of Bill’s world was his family and friends, and he leaves this legacy in his wake.  Bill and Merce cultivated a beautiful family and circle of friends – the Rutledge family is a big, ever-expanding, welcoming, and fiercely loyal, loving and encompassing group.  Anyone who knew Bill would tell you he was loving, gracious, had the best laugh, was a really big hugger, and exuded such sincere kindness.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Eugene (Bob) and Marie Rutledge, sister, Ann Buchanan and brother, Bob Rutledge. He is survived by his wife, Merce , his four daughters, Lisa Welsch(Jeff), Cristy Weller(Mike), Heidi, Teri (Ryan), his sister, Kathy Brillault, his seven grandchildren, Caitlin, Audrey, Caroline, Nathan, Max, Quinn and Dusty and a large extended family.

 Bill was born on October 12, 1943, in Seattle, WA. He was one of four children, and grew up learning the importance of family and hard work. He attended Shoreline High School, and graduated from Borah High School, in Boise, ID, in 1961. One of Bill’s favorite stories was that after having to move to Boise in his Senior year, he made a dear friend, Hank, who between the two of them hatched a plan to see who could join the most clubs and have the most pictures in the yearbook. Bill won!

Bill met his wife, Merce, while attending the University of Washington, and from their first date, knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

He went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Architecture from the UW in 1966.

After graduation, because of the draft, Bill enlisted in the Navy. Bill and Merce decided to elope so that they would be together on this next adventure.  Merce joined Bill in Newport, R.I., where Bill attended Officer’s Candidate School.  As a LTJG, his first duty station was to Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan as Public Works Officer.  Bill and Merce lived in Japan for two years and their first two daughters were born there.  He was then ordered to Vietnam with the Navy Corp of Engineers in Saigon.  He became the Admiral’s aide for part of this tour.  He received a Commendation Medal for his service in Vietnam and was a proud veteran.

When Bill returned from Vietnam, he was excited to begin his architecture career and worked at a small local firm. Within a short time, Bill decided to launch his own architectural practice: William Rutledge & Associates. Bill’s career spanned multiple decades. Some of his notable designs included multifamily projects, office and commercial buildings.  Closest to his heart was designing custom homes, including an AIA home of the month. He served on the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce and on the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Building Commission. His practice grew, and in 1991 he took on a partner, Dave Maul. The firm became RMA (Rutledge Maul Architects) and remains so to this day. There are many projects in and around Seattle that the firm designed over the next 30 years.  His daughter, Cristy, followed in her Dad’s footsteps working for him  during high school and college, and eventually graduated in Architecture.  She worked with her Dad at the firm for many years.

Bill loved to travel and was fortunate to see much of the world. Besides living in Japan, he was able to travel all over Southeast Asia. While raising his kids, road trips became a big part of family life; backpacking with the girls all around the Pacific Northwest, many trips back and forth to Bill’s happy place, Sun Valley, Idaho, summer trips to Cannon Beach and even a cross country trip from New York to Seattle.  As the girls got older, Bill and Merce enjoyed extensive trips to Europe, as well as adventures in Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They had vacations in Mexico and Hawaii. Most recently they enjoyed trips to Alaska and Portugal.  But the best part, and the part Bill loved, was that it almost always included shared travel with family or dear friends.

Bill was an avid adventurer. He was an athlete who enjoyed skiing, golf, tennis, ice skating and loved playing, competitively, any game. He joined the Borah High ski team and excelled on their golf team. But most of all he loved the mountains, spending time camping, backpacking, skiing and climbing. Bill summited several peaks in the Pacific Northwest including Mt. Rainier three times. He even included his daughters in summiting Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker and Sahale. His love of outdoor adventure and travel is a legacy he has passed down to his children and grandchildren.

As Bill adventured through life, his fearless approach to doing life grew and grew. Whether it was starting his own architecture firm, having four kids and throwing them in the woody wagon to drive up mountain roads and backpack, building three homes for his family in Lake Forest Park – Bill just jumped in. With  his quiet confidence,  he knew he would figure it out and work hard to make things happen. This “can do” approach to life meant that he squeezed so much experience and love and adventure into his 80 years.  Those who knew him knew they were loved by him.  We all will miss him terribly and will miss his great big hugs the most.

The Rutledge family invites you to a Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 8, from 2:00-4:00.  Point Edwards Charter Club,  Edmonds.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider making a donation in Bill’s honor and memory, to the  Alzheimer’s Association.

5 Responses to “William (Bill) Edward Rutledge”

  • Susan Bickley says:

    Gary and I have bragging rights….we’ve been in each other’s lives for over fifty-some years — through most of our college years and thereafter. We’ve shared so many good times and helped each other through some pretty tough times. We will miss you and your gentle, classy, fun-loving, generous ways.

  • Todd Chapman says:

    The Saint Mark parish community in Shoreline, mourns the loss of Bill. Bill and Merce have many friends here from when they were parishioners before moving to another area. I was privileged to have worked with Bill and our pastors here in the planning of projects, some still on the drawing board these years later. Bill will be missed and he and his family our in our prayers. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
    Todd Chapman, Pastoral Assistant for Administration, Saint Mark parish. http://www.saintmarkshoreline.org

  • Grant and Cindi Witherspoon says:

    We will miss our wonderful friend, Bill! Although we sadly didn’t get to visit with our dear longtime friends Bill and Merce as often as we wished, when we did there was huge fun to be had. Our thoughts so often landed on the Rutledges, their wonderful family with soft spoken and kind Bill at the mast. How very much Bill will be missed. May he RIP! <3 <3

  • ROYCE BERG says:

    “VERY SPECIAL MAN ” always positive , long term friend thru U of W ,Skiing , Mt Rainer, Navy, Professions , lot of memorable fun times over all these years. Bill will significantly be in all our memories thru his life. Royce

  • Michael Wolfe says:

    Even though we saw each other sporatically, I consider Bill and Merce life long friends– from the early days in Architecture school, the shared Navy experience, to crossing paths for lunch over the years when in Seattle. I aways admired Bill (and Merce as well) for his true genuine humanity. I will always remember Bill’s Guffaw with fondness. My heartfelt condolences to Merce and the Rutledge family.

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