Wednesday, January 7, 2009

In memory of Rep. Bill Grant

The House Democratic Caucus mourns the loss of our colleague and Caucus Chair, Rep. Bill Grant, who passed away on January 4, 2009. The following is his obituary, courtesy of his family.

Bill Grant, husband, father, dedicated family man and community leader, passed away Sunday, January 4, 2009 in a Walla Walla hospital with his family at his side.

Bill was born Sept. 20, 1937 to Sam and Irene Grant of Prescott, Washington. He attended Prescott Grade School and graduated from Prescott High School in 1955. He attended Whitman College where he lettered in football, basketball and track. Graduating in 1959 with a degree in Physical Education, Bill taught sixth grade the following year and coached all high school sports for the Prescott school district.

In 1960, he accepted an offer from his father to join the Grant family farm as a fourth generation wheat farmer. He remained active in all aspects of the farm until his death. His fervent desire to preserve the family farm was instilled by his father, his grandfather, Oscar Grant, and his great-grandfather, Jonathan Pettyjohn. Those closest to Bill knew he enjoyed the simple pleasures of farm life. Working in his beloved wheat fields, feeding cattle, watering his garden, or monitoring the weather gave him his greatest joy and satisfaction.

Besides being a man of the land, Bill was committed to serving our communities. First elected in 1986, Bill served twenty-two years as a state legislator of the 16th district. Upon his death, Bill was the longest-serving representative in the Washington State Legislature. He served twenty years on the powerful Appropriations Committee and since 1993 he has held the position of Democratic Caucus Chair. Bill was known as a man of his word, both honest and generous.

Some of Bill’s proudest political accomplishments in representing the 16th district included legislation benefiting Walla Walla Community College, economic development and W.S.U Tri Cities. As a champion of farming, agriculture was always on the forefront of Bill’s legislative agenda.

Bill was a member of many local and statewide organizations. He received numerous awards in recognition of his achievements.

Bill is survived by his wife of fifty years, Nancy, and four children: Gina Bull (Ron), Oak Harbor, WA.; Laura Grant-Herriot, Walla Walla; Amy Hartford (Jerry), Prescott, WA; Jonathan Grant (Fahima), Los Angeles, CA; eight grandchildren: Lindsay Braun (Jeffrey), Tacoma, WA.; Molly Schotzko (Tim), Pullman, WA.; Grant Bull (Erin), Oak Harbor, WA.; Lauren Hanson and Kathryn Hanson, Prescott, WA.; Samantha Grant-Herriot, Hope Grant-Herriot, and Marguerite Grant-Herriot, Walla Walla. Bill is also survived by his siblings Sam Grant, Jr. (Georgene), Mary Grant Tompkins (Lynn), John Grant (Patti),and Joe Grant, and by numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a nephew, Frank Tompkins.

A funeral Mass will be held at noon, Saturday, January 10, 2009 at St. Patrick’s church in Walla Walla. A reception will follow at the William A. Grant Water and Environmental Center on the Walla Walla Community College campus.

Memorial contributions may be made to Walla Walla Community College Foundation or Prescott Ivy Cemetery.