William “Bill” George Kuklenski’s Talents led to a variety of Legacies…
Mild mannered, gentleman, humorous, sweet, tough, energetic Bill packed many accomplishments into one lifetime…sports, teaching, coaching, and marketing/sales/management. Bill was born to George and Jean Kuklenski in Seattle, Washington, May 28, 1941. Bill and older brother Michael “Mike” frequently shared the Seattle Times spotlight with All-City and All-State sports honors and both taught and coached. Bill and Joan welcomed new ball players, son Craig, in 1969, and second son Jeffrey, in 1972. With gratitude for family love and medical support, Bill released himself to his heavenly Father July 23, 2022, Vibra Hospital, Boise, Idaho.
Bill, a 20-year old right hander with quick eyes, fast hands, and physical coordination, got his “greatest thrill in sports”–signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates league, 1961. Following his East Coast league baseball years, Bill returned to Washington State and Yakima Valley Community College where he was an all-state college player under Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Brayton. Bill earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, 1965, from the University of Washington. He was then recruited to teach and serve as head baseball coach/assistant football at Antelope Valley High School, Lancaster, CA. For his first summer break, Bill and friend, Mike, explored Europe for three-months. During a 2d year at AV High School, 1966, Bill courted and proposed marriage to Joan (Joanie) Bachman, Parkview Middle School science teacher, Lancaster. The two married June 24, 1967, in Missoula, Montana. Both resumed their fall Lancaster teaching positions. Bill’s star Lancaster pitcher, Jim Slayton, was signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. Bill was granted a teaching assistantship at the University of Washington to complete a Master of Science Degree, 1969. Backed with seasoned baseball experience, 27-year old Bill also coached the U of W “Husky frosh” team and assisted Coach Ken Lehman. The Husky Pups and Coach Bill achieved a noteworthy season record of 56 wins and 3 losses. Bill published his Thesis on 3 specific exercise programs and their effects on batting velocity, throwing, and running speeds of college freshman baseball players. A teaching and head baseball coaching contract at Seattle’s Ballard High School followed the University of Washington. Bill truly enjoyed guiding his eager and dedicated baseball players. Bill’s little boys, wearing downsized (retired) Beaver uniforms, loved attending Daddy’s baseball games.
A Legacy of teaching/coaching ended when Bill was recruited and trained for sales with New York Life Insurance (made the Million Dollar Club his first year.) A new Legacy in marketing/sales followed. Cousin Pete Taggares II, Othello Washington, hired Bill for his national Chef Reddy potato product sales team. Recruited back to Seattle, Bill merged into the seafood industry working for Con Agra, Del Monte, Starkist, and Washington Fish and Oyster. The next couple decades were focused with Seattle’s Ocean Beauty Seafoods in management/sales of shelf-stable products with market distributions in U.S. and Europe. Bill was a lead in developing new canned salmon labels and “salmon pouches” now on store shelves. Joan often traveled with Bill to trade shows, and on sales trips in the U.S. and abroad. Bill’s lengthy Legacy in management/sales culminated with his retirement in 2007 from Ocean Beauty.
Active retirement included golf, winters in Mesa, AZ, and travel adventures to Europe, Africa, Panama, South America/Amazon, Hawaii, and Mexico. Bill enjoyed an amazing life with family, sports, teaching, coaching, and sales–a wonderful husband/friend to Joan 55+ years, and devoted father to his sons and families. Rest in Peace our amazing Bill! You “lived well and you loved well!”
Bill is survived by wife, Joan, son Craig (Keri), son Jeffrey (Nicole), granddaughter Holly, brother Mike (niece Karrie), nephew Brad Bachman, many other nieces and nephews, and special family members Rafel Williams, and Donna Gerasimczyk. Donations suggested to Idaho Youth Ranch, local Little League Baseball associations, or a local PBS network station.