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Loss of a great waterman.
It is with great sorrow that I have to write that we in the Pacific Northwest lost a great friend and waterman earlier this week. Dean Williams, Sn, of Chilliwack, British Columbia, passed away on Tuesday, Feb 25. Dean is survived by his wife, Elina, son Dean, Jr, and daughter's Andrea and Jessica and if I can get it correct, 17 Grandchildren and one Great Grandchild.
I met Dean in the early 1980's racing on Puget Sound, he in various dugout canoes and me sea in kayaks. We formed a great and lasting friendship. Dean grew up on Bainbridge Island and later moved to Chilliwack. Dean's water skills are second to none, and I think of him as one of th finest people I have ever met. One race we did from Fay Bainbridge SP to Poulsbo when the wind was blowing about 30 knots. Dean showed up in a low freeboard dugout canoe. I mentioned he was crazy but he raced any way. I lent him my bailer but I'm not sure how he could have possibly bailed and kept is canoe upright. He later told me he stopped on shore 5 times to empty out the water. Another great memory is one of the early Round Bainbridge Races. Dean showed up with a 6 man dugout and 5 children all around early teens. They blessed the canoe and started racing. While they were on the water one of the elders from the local Indian community smoked salmon the traditional way over an open beach fire on cedar boards. They did the 26 miles, landed, again said some prayers, again involving the canoe, then ate. I was touched. Many more memories to share. It is tough to say goodbye to such a fine young man. RIP my friend.
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