Willard Benjamin Assink
June 21, 1941 — Dec. 6, 2018
Willard Benjamin Assink, 77, joined the Lord on Dec. 6, 2018, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Willard “Bill” Assink was born on June 21, 1941, in The Dalles, Ore., to Benjamin Gerrit and Adelaide (Deelsnyder) Assink. In 1943, the family relocated to Lynden, Wash., to begin dairy farming. The eldest of four children, Bill helped on the farm at an early age, learning to drive tractor at age five. In his youth, Bill attended Lynden public schools and was advanced a grade as an elementary student. He graduated from Lynden High in 1958.
Bill was gifted with perfect pitch. When he was not working on the farm, he studied piano and trombone, building what would later become the base of his musical mastery. In 1963, he earned a bachelor of arts degree in music education from Western Washington State College in Bellingham. Following graduation, Bill settled in Longview, teaching choir at Cascade Junior High.
In 1965, to pursue his passion for driving, Bill joined Standard Oil Company as a commercial truck driver. During his tenure with the company, Bill received many accolades, including the title of master driver, a prestigious award earned for 25 years of safe driving. Having commuted nearly one million miles on the road, and building a reputation for safety and service excellence, Bill retired from Standard Oil in 1990.
Alongside his driving career, Bill raised a family, including six children and two stepchildren. Bill spent many busy days attending recitals, school concerts, baseball games and eventually, his children’s graduation ceremonies. For Bill, faith and family went hand-in-hand, and his musical talents were shared plentifully with both.
A longtime member of Longview Community Church, Bill shared his gifts through many years of service singing baritone in the choir, playing hand-bells, and occasionally serving as a musical accompanist on the piano and organ. In May of 2003, Bill met Janis Holste of Deer Island, Ore. The two were married on Oct. 9, 2005, at Longview Community Church.
In his retirement years, Bill was involved in multiple music groups at Lower Columbia College, including the Symphonic Band, a barber shop quartet and the Acapella Choir. In more recent years, he filled in as the pianist at Clatskanie Presbyterian Church where he and Janis regularly attended. As a devoted Christian, he was a longtime supporter of Compassion International, sponsoring 10 children over the past 20 years, and also supporting missionaries all over the world. Locally, Bill volunteered to hold church services at the Campus Towers Retirement Center once a month.
Bill’s favorite pastimes were bowling, listening to his treasured music collection which he curated over 60 years, and his longtime membership with the Cowlitz Old Time Car Club. Among many admirable qualities, Bill will be remembered as a great conversationalist with a robust sense of humor who always made time for a friend.
Bill is survived by his wife, Janis Holste-Assink and step-son, Scott (Tenielle) Holste of Dayton, Ohio; children of previous spouse Margaret (Cox) Erickson: Cheryl (Bryan) Quinn of Anchorage, Alaska, Kristi Assink (Troy Whitehead) of Altonah, Utah, Kathleen Whitman of Arlington, Texas; children of previous spouse Lenora Tidler: Leonard (Alexis) Assink of Cumming, Ga., Leanne (Stephen) Mikkelsen of Bremerton, Wash., and Timothy (Gienie) Assink of Salt Lake City, Utah; a stepdaughter, Michelle (Keith) Russell of Spokane, Wash.; a sister, Charlotte (Rev. Roger) Huitink of Hamden, Conn.; two brothers, James (Gail) Assink and Donald (Carol) Assink, both of Lynden, Wash.; two stepbrothers, Gordon (Carolyn) Mullenix of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Mike (Tracy) Mullenix of Everson, Wash.; 14 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his stepmother, Gretta Jean (Mullenix) Assink; and a stepsister, Beverly Welch.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Home Health & Hospice, P.O. Box 2067, Longview, WA 98632; or to the Clatskanie Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 448, Clatskanie, OR 97016.
A celebration of Bill’s life was held Dec. 29 at the Clatskanie Presbyterian Church.