Skip to main content

Willard Marion Wamsley, Jr.

Willard Marion Wamsley, Jr. passed away peacefully surrounded by family on February 20, 2024, in Seattle, Washington. He was 96.

Willard’s life began on May 23, 1927, in Leavenworth, Washington. He was the youngest of five children born to Willard and Mary (Sauer) Wamsley. When Willard was one, his parents moved the family to Edmonds, Washington where he spent the rest of his childhood and youth. Growing up, Willard enjoyed spending time in the great outdoors hiking, camping, hunting and fishing with his father, brother, uncle and cousins. In high school, he was involved with the Future Farmers of America and enjoyed raising rabbits and helping with the family garden. Willard served sixteen months in the US Army as an automative mechanic with the rank of sergeant stationed in various parts of the Caribbean. Upon returning home, Willard finished school, graduating from Edmonds High School in 1947. He then went on to attend trade school and, in 1949, he began a sixteen-year career with Colyear Motor Sales Company, initially as an apprentice and then as a journeyman automotive machinist.  

In 1956, Willard married the girl next door, Violet Astell-Morse, and thus began a 57-year love affair. Not only did Willard find the love of his life when he married Violet, but he was lucky enough to inherit two beautiful children, his son, Gerald, and his daughter, Patricia. In 1957, Willard and Violet had a son, Jeffrey. For the next eight years, the family lived in the Seaview Heights neighborhood of Edmonds.

In 1965, Willard decided it was time to become his own boss, and he and Violet relocated the family home to Arlington, Washington where they purchased a struggling Coast-to-Coast Stores. Over the next twenty-five years, they turned their business into one of the leading hardware stores in the area and became pillars of the Arlington business community. They retired in 1990 and, in 2000 after 35 years in Arlington, they returned home to the Edmonds area. In retirement, they dedicated themselves to traveling, camping and just being there for their grandchildren.

Willard was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend. He will be remembered as a quiet man of relatively few words. However, when he spoke, people listened as it was always profound. He was kind, gentle, hard-working, patient, humble, even-tempered, selfless, wise and a man of great integrity. He was rock solid steady and could always be counted on. He loved his family dearly and they loved him. He enjoyed country western music, camping and the great outdoors. He could build or fix anything, and he made the best chocolate chip cookies. He also never met a piece of cake or a cookie he didn’t like, and he really enjoyed a little pie with his whipping cream.

Willard is survived by his daughter, Patricia Moores, and his son, Jeffrey Wamsley. In addition, he is survived by fourteen grandchildren: Andrea Marlow (Don), Stacy Ash (John, Jr.), Michael Morse, Carrie Morse-Gowenlock (Jeff), Kyle Hudlow, Thomas Moores (Juanita), James Moores (Elisabeth), Stephen Moores, Jeffrey Moores (Tamara), Amy Moores-Williams (Ryan), Madison R. Moores (Annie), Travis Wamsley, Justin Wamsley (Nichole) and Joseph Wamsley (Karla Mejia); seventeen great-grandchildren: John Ash III, Robert Ash (Amanda Brooks), Chelsey Kimball-Wright, Bradey Morse, Kody Nelson (Hannah), Rikki Mauldin (Nathan), Breanna Gowenlock, Madeline Garavaglia (Aron), Olivia Moores, Nevaeh Wamsley, Jennessy Wamsley, Kayli Corbett, Max Wamsley, James Wamsley, Lilah Wamsley, Amaru Wamsley and Lilith Wamsley; thirteen great-great-grandchildren: Jonathan Ash, Violet Ash, Wyatt Ash, Trinity Humphrey, Ricky Wright, Addison Nelson, Paisley Nelson, William Nelson, Landyn Mauldin, Logan Mauldin, Lillian Peters, Olivia White and Mason Rhodes and many nieces and nephews.

Willard was preceded in death by his loving wife, Violet, his son and daughter-in-law, Gerald and Victoria Morse, his son-in-law, Madison D. Moores, his parents, Willard and Mary Wamsley, his four siblings and their spouses, Kathleen Womer (Wilbur), Muriel Atwood (Lynn), Shirley Hobbs (Wesley) and Welcome Wamsley (Andree), one grandson and several nieces and nephews. With his passing, the leadership of the Wamsley-Sauer family passes to the next generation.

Dear Willard, you have led our family with distinction and honor and touched many lives along the way in your life’s journey. We are richer and better people because of your love and influence. Now it is time for you to rest in peace. You will always be remembered, and you will forever be in our hearts. 

A celebration of life for Willard will be held on Saturday, March 16 at 12:30pm at the Lake Ballinger Center, 23000 Lakeview Drive in Mountlake Terrace.  


I always enjoyed working at Coast to Coast Hardware with Willard and Vi! It was a good time in my life.

Michele Heiderer

Make a donation to People's Memorial