December 5, 1936 - February 23, 2020
William “Bill” Bedford Lundahl
December 05, 1936-February 23, 2020
William “Bill” Bedford Lundahl was born on December 5, 1936, in Los Angeles to Esther Fuller Lee and Bedford Gay Moore. His parents divorced when Bill was two, and his mother married Albin Theodore Lundahl when Bill was four. His name was formally changed from William Bedford Moore to William David Lundahl after their marriage. Bill wanted to be remembered as William Bedford Lundahl, although he went by Bill.
There’s no practical way to describe Bill other than he was a special guy. His mother went to great lengths to conceal the reality from Bill, so he was never formally diagnosed or considered himself anything other than perfectly normal in every way. He struggled with mainstream schooling; when it was clear he would not be graduating with his high school in Highland Park, California, he and his mother moved to Phoenix, Arizona, allegedly to more closely study Native American culture, specifically Mayan archeology. He became a bit of a collector of their art, books and experiences. In 1957, he graduated from West Phoenix High School, after repeating his senior year there.
He served in the Navy from 1960 until 1966 and was stationed on two aircraft carriers, USS Ticonderoga and USS Hancock. He explored Southeast Asia, and he adopted a Buddhist way of life with its spiritual traditions. In the late 1960s, he moved to the Seattle area, where he worked in the treated wood products industry for 29 years. After the plant closed, Bill delivered Domino’s Pizza for nine years. Bill served on the security team for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama during his 1993 visit to Seattle.
In late December 1999, Bill moved back to Arizona, to enable his mother to be released from a nursing home. For the next five years, she was able to live at home with his help, and they lived together in a loving, somewhat contentious standoff. Esther filled her home to the brim with possessions, including two sheds. While she was alive, Bill wanted to clear her stuff out. After she died in 2004, Bill treasured everything his mother owned, considering it all to be precious and worth saving.
In February 2005, Laurie Kilbourn accepted management of Bill’s finances and life events. She had significant help from her “Team Bill,” including Ron Cobb, Lee Kilbourn, Janet McCown, Ellen Onstad, Kara Lynn Rankin, and Joan Priscilla “Perky” Kilbourn (until her death in 2011).
Many times, it seemed as though Bill needed to move, but he stayed put for ten more years, with the additional help of Lucy Fricker and her kids, who visited with him weekly. They welcomed him and treated him as a member of their family, which we all wanted for Bill.
On Sunday, January 11, 2015, Bill was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross a nine-lane road at dusk. Unfortunately, the driver didn’t stop. The posted speed limit was 45 mph, and at that speed, Bill had an 85% chance of being killed. He had multiple broken bones and required about eight hours of surgery the next day. During the course of that first week, Bill developed “sundown syndrome,” and he was not able to return to his home. He lived in a fourth-floor memory care unit for two and a half months, until Laurie, Janet, Lee and Lee’s wife, Anita Woodside, were able to move him to Oregon the last week of March 2015.
Once in Oregon, he lived in a memory care community: Brookdale — Troutdale. He thrived there for almost five full years, with the caring attention of the staff there and regular visits by family.
Bill spent Thanksgiving 2019 in Mt. Angel with more than 40 family members, and he told many of us how much fun he had with the family. A month later, Bill contracted a MRSA infection, and after six weeks of strong antibiotics, his reserves were depleted. After two transfusions, he failed to bounce back, and Thursday, 2/20/2020, he was placed in hospice and able to stay in place at Brookdale. He died at 1:37 Sunday afternoon, 2/23/2020, while being visited and comforted by Ellen. He was 83 years old.
Bill loved to tell stories, and he always wanted to share something: ginseng candy, pastries, life advice, to name a few. He had many interests that kept him busy. He loved to promote Buddhism and Native American cultures, and he loved his cats. Before Esther died, she and Bill adopted a stray, and unbeknownst to them, she was pregnant. Within 24 hours of her adoption, she gave birth to a litter. One male grey cat survived, and the two cats joined their family: Mama Kitty and Grey Boy, later renamed MK or “Meeka” and Murphy Grey Boy. During many of Laurie’s visits to see Bill, she fell in love with these cats, and she and Ron, as well as their cats, Max and Milo, welcomed them into their home. Both of Bill’s cats preceded him in death, along with Bill’s mother, Esther Fuller Lee Moore Lundahl McMains.
Although Bill asked for a Presbyterian or Christian memorial service, he considered himself a Buddhist. At Bill’s request, contributions may be made to PETA or any Buddhist organization. His cremains will be interred at a location to be determined. Team Bill gratefully acknowledges the wonderful staff at Brookdale — Troutdale, and we thank the many people who were so kind and loving to Bill. Assuming karma is real, the universal principle of cause and effect, Bill had every confidence that these kindnesses will come back. We sincerely hope so.