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Obituary of William Lee Belcher
William Lee “Bill” Belcher was born on October 30, 1938, to Harry and Helen Belcher of Mossyrock, Washington. He graduated from Mossyrock High School in 1956 before earning his AA from Centralia College in 1958 and his BA in Mathematics from Washington State University in 1960.
Upon graduation from his beloved alma mater, Bill began his teaching career at Rochester High School. A caring and patient educator, he taught mathematics to generations of Rochester students from 1960 to 1998, dedicating countless hours not, only to helping students learn and grow, but also serving as a listening ear and trusted confidant. Keeping up with his former students over the years was a source of tremendous joy for him.
During his 38 years as a teacher, Bill served on the District Curriculum Committee, State Math Curriculum Committee, and was Athletic Director for several years. His steadfast dedication and commitment to excellence led to numerous accolades, including being named a National Science Foundation Award Winner, Faithful Service Award recipient multiple times from the National Honor Society, Outstanding Educator from the Rochester School District, and Distinguished Educator of the Year from the Rochester Alumni Association.
Bill was equally dedicated to working with students outside the classroom, serving as the advisor for the National Honor Society, ASB, Senior Class, and Natural Helpers. He also ran the concessions for all athletic events, which provided another opportunity to work closely with students and community members. Upon his retirement, the commons at Rochester High School was renamed in his honor for his many years of service and dedication to Rochester students.
Above all, Bill had a servant’s heart. He was a charter member of the Rochester Lions Club, holding various leadership positions during his years of service to the community, including club treasurer, chairman of the Walk’n’Knock food drive, and chairman for the annual fireworks fundraiser. A man of great faith, Bill joined Central Bible Evangelical Free Church in 1975, where he served as deacon and treasurer for many years. In 2011, he and his wife, Sue, were selected as co-grand marshals for Rochester’s Swede Day Parade.
Bill married Sue Johnson on August 2, 1975. They made their home in Rochester and together raised their two daughters, Lisa and Janet. Bill treasured time with his family and was an immensely proud and loving husband, father, and grandfather.
Bill passed peacefully on September 16, 2023, at Sharon Care Center in Centralia. He is preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Helen Belcher; and sister, Elaine Nowadnick. He is survived by his wife, Sue Belcher of Rochester; daughters, Lisa Crockett (Dayle) of Olympia and Janet Silcott (Alan) of Poulsbo; and grandsons, Evan and Drew Silcott of Poulsbo.
A celebration of Bill Belcher’s life will be held on Sunday, October 1, 2023, 2:00 p.m. at Central Bible Evangelical Free Church in Centralia. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the church, the Rochester Scholarship Association, or the Swedish Cancer Institute.
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