The tranquil waters of Meydenbauer Bay are lined with homes, and city leaders are eagerly awaiting a park expansion that will open more...
The tranquil waters of Meydenbauer Bay are lined with homes, and city leaders are eagerly awaiting a park expansion that will open more of the shoreline to the public.
But for several decades, the bay had Bill Lagen written all over it.
The former city councilman owned and operated the Meydenbauer Bay Marina, interacting with generations of Eastside boat-owners. His grandfather founded a whaling company that wintered its boats in the bay, and Mr. Lagen spoke to schoolchildren and residents about the city’s whaling history.
Mr. Lagen died April 15 at his home on the bay after a long illness. He was 83.
Most Read Local Stories
- Five I-5 rest areas to close in Snohomish and Whatcom counties over trash, vandalism
- Washington state trooper who died of COVID hadn't been vaccinated yet, family says
- The Seattle area is heading into another La Niña winter. Here's what that means
- González, Harrell trade barbs on homelessness, policing in televised Seattle mayoral debate
- Coronavirus daily news updates, October 15: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
He sold the marina to the city about nine years ago, but his passion for the Eastside never dimmed, according to friends.
“Bill had a most wonderful time being part of Bellevue,” said former city councilwoman Nancy Rising. He “treasured the knowledge of where [the city] came from.”
Mr. Lagen served one term on the City Council in the early 1980s and helped push for the creation of Downtown Park, more funding for the Police Department and an independent water supply for the city. He brought a quick sense of humor and straightforward manner to a political scene in need of both, friends say.
“He always lightened things up,” said Kirk Mathewson, a former landowner in downtown Bellevue. “We were often in stitches around the guy, trying to keep our composure.”
Some of his most boisterous moments were at the many parties and gatherings that he and his wife, Anne, hosted at their home. Whether it was local politicians or family members arriving, cigars would appear, “the liquor cabinet would fall open,” and Mr. Lagen would tell elaborate stories, according to his son Brian Lagen, of Bellingham.
An old cannon from one of his grandfather’s whaling ships would also come in handy. At some parties, he would stuff the cannon with black powder and toilet paper and fire it in the air, much to the chagrin of neighbors, his son said.
“There was nothing he liked more than having a big group of people over at the house,” Brian Lagen said.
Mr. Lagen was born July 29, 1923, in Pawling Manor, N.Y., and moved to Bellevue as a boy. He graduated from Seattle’s Garfield High School, taking a ferry across Lake Washington to class.
He was an avid boater and took regular trips to Alaska in his cruiser, traveling through the Inside Passage. He served as an officer in the Navy and was a member of the Association of Independent Moorages, a group of private dock owners.
He was also passionate about hunting and fishing and spent time at his cabin in Eastern Washington.
Other survivors include sons Tom Lagen of Tacoma, Marc Lagen of Kirkland and Joe Lagen of Bellevue; daughters Deborah Bratt of Lake Stevens and Carol Peltola of Issaquah; and seven grandchildren.
Services are at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Seattle Yacht Club, 1807 E. Hamlin St., Seattle, followed by a reception at 3 p.m. at the Lagen home. Memorials may be made to the Progressive Animal Welfare Society or the Humane Society.
Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or firstname.lastname@example.org