William "Bill" George Briggs, 83, of Othello, died Thursday, June 2, 2011 at the Othello Community Hospital. Bill, the eldest of six children, was born on May 15, 1928, to Marvin and Joyce (Elsberry) Briggs in Cando, N. D. At the age of six weeks he moved with his parents to Ashton, ID where his father had purchased the local newspaper. They later moved to St. Anthony, ID. Bill grew up delivering newspapers and helping in the family business. He graduated from St. Anthony High School, where he was president of the senior class.
Bill enrolled at the University of Idaho in the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, and upon graduating in 1951 with a B.S. degree in Agriculture, entered the U.S. Navy. He served aboard the U.S.S. Epperson DDE719, a destroyer escort, as the Anti-Submarine Warfare officer, serving 2 tours as part of the 77th Task Force off the coast of Korea. Bill attained the rank of Lieutenant before leaving the Navy in 1954. In 1953 while in home port at Pearl Harbor, Bill met Nancy Baine, a University of Washington student who was taking summer classes at the University of Hawaii. After his naval service he moved to Seattle to court Nancy and they were married there on April 15, 1955.
Bill worked for Western Farmers Cooperative in Seattle and Mt. Vernon before being transferred to the Columbia Basin in 1964. The couple and their 3 children lived in Moses Lake for a short time before building a home in Othello. Following the death of Nancy's sister, Ann Emerick, in 1967, they welcomed her 3 daughters into their family. The next year, 1968, the couple opened Briggs Farm Service and served the farming community for 15 years. He later went to work for the Adams County Weed District #1 as supervisor, retiring in 2005.
Bill had many interests in his life. Nancy and his family were first, but friends were a close second. He was also an explorer. There were road trips with the family, always seeking back- country routes that took them to new and exciting places. He enjoyed photography, fishing and getting together with shipmates at bi-annual Epperson reunions. He was a member of the Tin Can Sailors Association. Bill looked forward to family gatherings in Idaho, as well as trips to the ocean for beachcombing, kite flying, and clam digging. He was an avid reader of history, loved maps and was one of the original area geocachers.
In 2008 Bill was named Othello Citizen of the Year. He led the successful crusade to bring what became the Leah Layne Kidney Dialysis Center to the community. He was a founding committee member for the Heart of the Basin Relay for Life, he served 18 years as a Commissioner on the Othello Hospital Board, he was a board member and volunteer at the Othello Food Bank, was a founding member of the Othello Cancer Support Group and co-founder of the Othello Diabetes Support Group. Bill volunteered as an Ag guide for the Othello Crane Festival and served on the Othello Planning Commission and Othello Civil Service Commission Board. Bill was a member of the First Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder and a Deacon.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Jim and John. Bill is survived by his wife Nancy of Othello, son Bill of St. Paul Island, AK and his daughter Amelia Briggs, Spokane; daughters Kathy (Bill) Brueske of Othello; Nancy Ann (Michael) Olin and daughter Sara, all of Pullman and son Scott, Bellingham; nieces, Michele (Keith) Buttelman and daughter Cassandra, Canyon Country, CA; Connie (John) Deck, and son Mathew, Yakima; Linda Miller, and her children Tony Gomez and Ashley (Charley) Brandon of Moses Lake; sister, Mary (Clyde) Hawley, Nampa, ID; brother, Richard (Michelle) Briggs, Tetonia, ID; sister, Sally (Al) DeVille, Boise, ID and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Bill's life will be held at the Othello First Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 11 a.m. Memorials are suggested to The Heart of the Basin Relay for Life, Othello Cancer Support Group or Othello First Presbyterian Church in Bill's name. Services are under the direction of Stevens Funeral Chapel.
To sign the guest book and leave a note for the family please go to stevensfuneralchapel.com.