The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

William (Bill) Panther


August 30, 2017

William (Bill) Panther

William Dean Panther was born to Norma L. (Moe) and Donald B. Panther on March 30, 1959 in Spokane, Washington. Bill spent most of his younger years growing up on a small family farm and graduated from East Valley High School and Spokane Community College. He married Melanie L. Frisk in Goldendale, Washington on Aug. 25, 2007.

Bill served his country by enlisting in the United States Marines in 1977. He was stationed at Marine Base Hawai'i, Kāneʻohe Bay, in Squadron HMM-262 "The Flying Tigers" as a CH-46 Aircraft Hydraulic/Pneumatic Mechanic and Aircraft Airframe Mechanic. During this time, he was on three Western Pacific (WESTPAC) Tours and was able to experience several locations including the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Somalia, Diego Garcia, Hong Kong, and Australia. While active, he received a Meritorious Mast, The Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ stars, Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal (Indian Ocean), and Humanitarian Service Medal for rescuing several hundred South Vietnamese refugees adrift in the South China Sea. He served proudly and discharged in 1983.

After returning home, he began his career working for Washington State Parks, first as a park aide, then transferring to Construction and Maintenance Specialist for the South Central Area until his retirement in 2014. He was extremely proud of his home park, Maryhill, and took exceptional care to make it a beautiful flourishing green oasis during his tenure.

He was a member of the American Legion and oversaw the honor guard services for deceased veterans. He was an exceptionally hard worker even through the extreme pain. He could fix just about anything and was an excellent MacGyver. He loved Tannerite, firearm practice, restoring guns, making knives, camping, traveling, and especially our pets.

Bill passed away at his home in Goldendale on Aug. 2, 2017 at the age of 58. He is survived by his wife Melanie Panther; sisters Louise (Duane) Bolser of Leavenworth, Washington and Donna (Cleve) McCoul of Otis Orchard, Washington; brother Les (Tesha) Panther of Spokane; numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews; and his dog children Kota and Darla. His parents and his brother Dennis Panther preceded him in death.

There will be a Celebration of Life at the Goldendale American Legion Saturday Sept. 9, 2017 at 3 p.m. Please join us to salute our proud Marine-Semper Fi!

We are asking in lieu of flowers, please send a donation in William Panther's name to Celilo Cancer Center Fund, 1700 E 19th St, The Dalles, OR 97058. This fund is used to benefit patients directly.

Condolences may be sent to the Panther family by visiting


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