William Sandell

Obituary of William Sandell

William “Bill” Sandell of Lacey, Wahington, passed away on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at the age of 83.


He is survived by his wife of 65 years, JoAnne; his children, Julie (Don) Loski, Mark, Richard, Randall, and Gregory (Tina); and his brother, Lawrence, of Pennsylvania.  He is Grandpa to 11 grandchildren and Great-Grandpa to six great-grandchildren, who will all miss his astounding stories and entertaining sense of humor.


Bill was born to Herbert and Edith Sandell of Rochester, Washington.  Living in a Scandinavian community on a farm in his youth, always thinking that he was Swedish, he didn’t learn until    years later that he was actually a Swedish-speaking Finn or a “finlandssvenkar.”  Bill went on to attend Rochester High School, where he was always active in school activities and leadership and even spent time as one of the school’s sports broadcasters.  It was also here that his fancy footwork on the dancefloor and tenacity won over his high school sweetheart, JoAnne Keesee.   They graduated in 1958 and were married later that same year. At age 17, Bill joined the Army Reserves and continued serving for eight years. 


After getting married, they wasted no time starting a family and Bill wasted no time starting his career.  Obtaining a job at Boeing right out of high school, he spent over 42 years in the Space and Defense Group and retired in 2000.  While at Boeing, Bill earned the opportunity to work on many historical projects.  One of these was the Lunar Rover Vehicle program, where he helped the astronauts of Apollos 15, 16, and 17 explore the moon in the “Moon Buggy.”


After his time at Boeing, Bill traded in his pocket protector for a set of golf clubs and embarked on his second career—retirement.  This career saw many highlights.  Bill and JoAnne became world travelers, seeing many countries, including Finland, where he was able to meet some extended family and even tour the house his father grew up in.  They visited all 50 states and have the refrigerator magnets to prove it. Bill had many hobbies; golf, fishing, photography, camping, and metal detecting are just a short list of what he enjoyed.  What he really enjoyed was family.  That was the essence of his time and support.  Whether it be a family gathering , a grandchild’s graduation or a great-grandchild’s football game, he was always there and will remain there in our hearts.


A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, November 19, 2023, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at South Sound Manor, 455 North St. SE, Tumwater, WA 98501. 


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Gary Sinise Foundation or Wounded Warriors Program.


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