April 2, 1923 - May 16, 2018
William John Wiley’s Life story begins in Missoula Montana where he was born on April 2nd 1923. He was born to Ortho Adam Wiley and Sarah Helen whose maiden name was Footitt. Sarah Helen Footitt was married to Mr. Blackman and had one daughter named Minnalee before he passed away early in life. While in North Dakota Sarah worked in George W. Wiley’s general store where she would meet his son and fall in love. Before she could get married she traveled back to Florida to ask permission from her mother in law to remarry. Once receiving an okay she traveled back to North Dakota to marry Ortho. Ortho and Sarah had five children including Minna lee, George Ortho, Helen, Anna Faye and the baby of the bunch William John. Minna lee was born in 1913, Helen on January 20th 1921, Anna Faye on April 11th, 1922 and William John on April 2nd, 1923. Ortho and his family were in Montana when William J. Wiley was born. They lived in Missoula, Montana for 2 years until Ortho took his family back to Carrington, North Dakota where his parents and George and Anna lived. William a.k.a. Bill received an education up to eighth grade until he decided it was more worthwhile to work and make money. He worked many odd jobs including picking potatoes, But it was the job of chain boy that he felt made good money. Grampa George was also a county surveyor and Bill would measure 30 feet out and place stakes in the ground he would also help grandpa George by reading the compass. In 1936 at the age of 13, Bill bought his first car, a 1926 Star Coupe, for $20. Bill’s older brother George worked at the Chevrolet Dealership and taught him how to weld. This ability allowed Bill top trick out his Star Coupe long before modifying cars became popular. He sold his Star Coupe for $35 and used the money to finance a trip to Montana with his older Brother George, his wife Frita and son Doug. During the depression jobs were hard to find. In Missoula George went to the Oldsmobile Dealership and told the owner to hire him as foreman of the body shop. The owner said he already had a foreman and didn’t need him. George said again to hire him because he was a better foreman. He said he would work for a week free of charge and if he didn’t do a better job he would leave. By the end of the week George became foreman. Bill also followed his brother’s footsteps by using the same techniques to get a job at Larson’s body shop. At Larson’s body shop, Bill was on a ladder while the owner was holding the ladder. The owner left and the ladder slipped on the wood floor. Bill tried to catch the beam, but instead gripped the ladder as is it fell. He leg was seriously broken with a compound fracture, and when the owner returned and realized what had happened he panicked and went to pieces. Bill says the owner neve did help him. Bill managed to tell another man, who he referred to as a drunk, to go to across the street to the Oldsmobile Garage and tell his brother George that he had broken his leg real bad. The drunk came back to report that he was kicked out of the garage without telling George his important news. Bill said to go back and try again. Finally, George got the news; and, an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital. In 1940 with his leg in a cast he drove his sister-in-law Frieda and nephew Doug back to North Dakota. Later that year Bill drove to Port Orchard, Washington to meet up with his sister Helen and her husband Syril Wolf. In Port Orchard, Bill had no idea where Helen and Syril lived so he looked for a well-lit area to stay the night in his car. He decided to park in front of the movie theater in downtown Port Orchard. As the movie let out for the night, he noticed that his sister Helen was exiting the theater. By the grace of God he had not driven cross country in vain. Port Orchard was a breath of fresh air for Bill and he decided to stay for a while. His Mom and Dad,, Ortho and Sarah, decided as well to move to Port Orchard. In 1941 Dorothy Nicodemus caught Bill’s eye while working at Robinson’s grocery store (presently PJ’s store). Bill was working for his father making good money doing carpentry, but decided it was more important to win the heart of Dorothy than work for his father. He asked the owner of Robinson’s grocery for a job to get closer to Dorothy. The owner knew Bill worked for his father and said she didn’t have a job for him that could compare, only a job as a bottle boy. Bill took the job and soon found out that Dorothy was engaged to a sailor. Bill said he was a better catch and asked her for one date. If it didn’t go well he would leave her alone. So their one date turned into two dates, which turned into Dorothy returning the ring to her ex fiancé. Dorothy’s father wasn’t to happy to hear the news of her broken engagement because he served in the navy and liked the sailor she was dating. He also thought Bill was too young for her. On June 4, 1942 at 4 o’clock Bill Wiley married Dorothy Nicodemus and by 6 o’clock they left for Los Angeles, CA on their honeymoon with $20 in their pocket. On their return trip they ran out of money in Medford, Oregon. Bill found a job working on the railroad. It was a grueling job for a 128-pound kid to swing a sledge hammer. His coworkers constantly made fun of him and said he was too weak to return the second day. Bill had no intentions of returning with the way his body felt, but the comments from his coworkers resulted in him telling them that he would be there the next day before they would. Bill was also looking for a place to stay and found an older woman renting what Bill called a chicken coop. She charged $30 a month which was quite expensive. He told her he had a good paying job at the railroad and he would pay her the $30 in two weeks, on payday. After much consideration she finally agreed. Without a penny to his name, Bill went to the local grocery store and asked the man if he was the store manager. He said yes and Bill told him he would like to do business with him. Bill inquired about setting up an account with him but the manage said they did not give credit. He said too bad because he had a good paying job with the railroad and he wanted to do all his business with him. Again after much consideration the manage gave Bill $10 in store credit. He came home to their chicken coop/room with a loaf of bread, butter and some deli meat. Bill’s body and muscles ached so much that he worried he would not be able to return to work. Dorothy instructed Bill to return to the store and buy some rubbing alcohol. They found a laundry tub and Bill received a rub down in rubbing alcohol and soaked in the tub. When he woke up the next morning he was amazed at how well his muscles felt. He arrived at work earlier than the workers that made fun of him to prove he could once again swing that sledge hammer. Ironically he never used the sledge hammer again. It was a trick to find out if he was a serious worker. He worked for two months until he decided to pack up and return to Port Orchard. On their trip north, they had 32 flats between Medford and Salem. At that time during World War II, tires were rationed and it was nearly impossible to buy a new tire. Three of their tires would not hold air anymore so Bill had stuffed the tires with their clothes! In Salem they stopped at a garage and asked to buy some tires. The guy was not helpful. After the shift change Bill asked the manager if he could patch his tube. Seeing the condition of the tube and tires with clothes in them the manager said the tube was not repairable. The Manager took pity on them and by the time they left they had 4 new tires. Driving North, Bill’s plan was to return to Port Orchard and get his father’s trailer so they could set up home in Portland, Oregon where jobs were plentiful. Bill began work at Swan Island Shipyard welding on ships for the War. At the Welding School he finished top in his class. It took 6 weeks for an opening on the waiting list to test for a Certified Pipe Welder. His supervisor told him to be there the next day to take the test. He took the test and failed. When his supervisor found out he asked Bill if he knew what he had done wrong. Bill said yes he had the machine one notch too hot. His supervisor said good now go down tomorrow and take the test again. He took the test a second time and passed. On December 27, 1942 Dorothy Wiley gave birth to her first child named William Wayne Wiley. For much of the next 3 years Bill saw little of his wife and child because he became enlisted in the army. He received notice to show up for a physical. Bill walked into the recruitment office noticed some barbed wire between two doors and ducked to enter. The officer said raise your right arm. Bill hesitated and said why. What about the eye chart and physical? The officer replied you passed the eye chart when you ducked under the wire. Bill made sure to point out that had been rejected before because of his leg. The officer asked, “How did you get here?” Bill replied he had walked. The officer said that was good enough for him and that was how he entered the Army. Dorothy went down to Pasadena, CA to be close to Bill during his training at Camp Roberts. Once Bill finished with training he was sent overseas. He sent all of his pay home to Dorothy. Bill’s army buddies insisted he was making a mistake because so many other men were receiving dear John letters. After 3 years, Bill returned home and Dorothy handed him a bank passbook of all the money she had collected from him. It totaled more than $3000. With the money they bought their first house on Manchester Highway. Bill worked with his Brother-in-law Syril Wolf at the Retsil Veterans Cemetery. In 1946 he went to work for Arthur Nicholson at Nicholson Drilling. On April 19th 1947 his second son James Michael was born. On May 25th 1950 his third son, Ronald Warren was Born. In 1951 he went into partnership with Arthur Nicholson and they were drilling wells in Western Washington as well as drilling for Government Contracts in Alaska. On September 18th, 1952 his final son Byron Nelson was born. In 1955 Art Nicholson and Bill dissolved the partnership with Art keeping the portion of the company in Alaska and Bill keeping the Alaska portion. They remained friends until Arthur’s death near the end of the century. In 1958 his son Jim volunteered him to be a cub scout leader. He ended up being a cubmaster and explorer advisor for 19 years while all of his sons went through Cubs, Boy Scouts, and Explorer Scouts. Many of the Scout Leaders became lifelong friends. In 1972 his sons James and Ronald went into partnership with him in Nicholson Drilling. In 1955 when he bought out the firm from Nicholson he had reduced the size to a one rig operation. The size of the company expanded until his retirement in 1981. In 1984 Bill and Dorothy sold their home place on Olney Ave to K mart and they spent time traveling on the west coast. They also bought the house on Bethel Burley across the street from Nicholson Drilling and a lot at Ocean Shores. While being the Explorers Advisor, as a service project, Bill became involved in cleaning the scotch bloom out of the Knights of Pythias cemetery in Port Orchard next to Sunset Lane cemetery. Bill became a member of the Knights in 1980 and this became a project that he spent thousands of man hours on during his retirement. He helped revitalize the Sidney lodge with his recruiting membership drives. As you might gather from this narrative he was a hard man to say no to. His wife of 67 years passed on March 25, 2010 and he passed on May 16th 2018.
William John Wiley’s Life story begins in Missoula Montana where he was born on April 2nd 1923. He was born to Ortho Adam Wiley and Sarah Helen whose maiden name was Footitt. Sarah Helen Footitt was married to Mr. Blackman and had one... View Obituary & Service Information
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