William L. “Bill” Denney, 63, of Champaign, Ill., and formerly of Wallowa County, died Aug. 13 after a long battle with pancreal cancer. Bramley Funeral Home in Champaign is in charge of arrangements.
A funeral was held Aug. 18 in Divernon, Ill., with burial in Pawnee, Ill., at Calvary Cemetery. A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Sept. 5 at Northside Baptist Church in Vancouver, Wash. A reception and visitation will follow.
Bill was born Dec. 14, 1944, to Clifford R. and Mary (Betz) Denney in Spokane. He moved to Oregon in 1948 to the lower Imnaha area. He excelled in school with highest honors and several scholarships. He was grateful to Gardner Locke and Wm. Williams Sr. for help they gave him in high school, especially trigonometry, calculus and other advanced mathematics.
He attended Oregon State University where he majored in forest-civil engineering, business administration and mathematics. He received his bachelor of science degree with highest honors.
He worked for Bill Hagedorn of Portland as office manager and business manager for three years, then returned to Oregon State for graduate school. He received his MBA with highest honors in 1972.
He met and married Arlys Wright in 1968.
His daughter, Lanae, was born in 1975 and Rachelle was born in 1978. They lived in a home built at Salmon Creek. They moved to El Paso, Texas, in 1983 when Bill found work with Wang Computer Software as engineering manager.
The family moved to Blaine, Wash., where he started a computer company, developing civil engineering software. The patent sold to Plus III Software, and he continued developing software at his home in Vancouver. Trimble Corp. bought the program and Bill traveled worldwide teaching the program and technology.
He developed a beautiful garden at their Vancouver home with fish ponds, waterfalls and many exotic plants. He built a grist mill, an exact replica of the antique mill his great-great-grandfather built in Illinois.
Bill received the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in March 2006 and sought treatment at several clinics and even two trips to Switzerland, to no avail.
In August 2007, Bill moved to Champaign, Ill., to be near family.
He was known for his Christian attitude and considered his cancer a win-win situation – he’d have been happy to have a cure, but knew he would have great rewards in heaven.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Arlys Anne; daughter, Lanae and her husband, Jerry; daughter, Rachelle and her husband, J. R.; five grandchildren; sisters, Wanda Sorweide of Joseph and Arlene Lovell of Imnaha and Costa Rica; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Glenise Mullen of Joseph; and brother Clifford, killed in action during the Korean War.
The Observer – August 26, 2008