William J. Illingworth
William "Willie" J. Illingworth
Surrounded by friends and family, an infamous legend of the Northwest, Willie Illingworth, peacefully passed away at his home on March 27, 2007. He was 64.
As the founding father of the aluminum driftboat industry in 1971, Wild Willie created his reputation not only as a boat designing and aluminum fabricating genius, but as a legendary one-of-a-kind character throughout Oregon, California, Washington and Alaska. Always quick witted, generous, and looking to have a good time, Willie quickly charmed his way into people's hearts.
His hunting and fishing buddies valued his outdoor expertise. They frequently asked for his opinion and tips to catch the largest fish, bag the largest deer, or largest elk. Although one was never sure if the advice or stories he told were real or imaginary, they listened to every word. They then passed on the stories, sometimes with embellishments of their own, to continue the legendary reputation Willie so enjoyed.
An advocate in protection of fisheries and wildlife habitats, Willie was involved with the Rogue River Guides Association, Rogue Flyfishers, NW Steelheaders, Rocky Mountain Elks Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Oregon Hunters Association, Kenai River Peninsula Guides Associates, Cal-OR Fish Enhancement, the Willamette Salmon Quest and more.
Willie is survived by his family members: sons, Matthew, Mark and Will Illingworth; stepdaughters, Shannon Burgess, and Jenny Abeloe; sisters, Dana Kell and Ginnie Nosal; companion, Mary Blandau; ex-wives, Deb Illingworth and Cathy Miller; and countless friends.
An outdoor memorial service will be held on Friday, April 6th, at 2:00 p.m. on the bank of the Rogue River at the Layton Residence, 950 Roguewoods Drive, White City, Ore.
Per Willie's request, in lieu of flowers, please make donations in his name to Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, PO Box 4, Oregon City, OR 97045.
We love you Willie! The Legend Continues!
"I 'magine" -- Willie Illingworth
"Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson