William John Pyper was born August 20, 1917 in Chester, Montana to Elsie and James Pyper.
In 1920, Elsie and James moved to Sunnyslope for work. About 1922, the family moved to the Ellisforde area where Bill’s father worked in orchards and warehouses along Highway 7.
Bill and his siblings went to Britton Flats School then on to Ellisforde School (the little red school house along the railroad tracks), then to Tonasket High School. Bill graduated in 1936 and then attended LaVern School in 1941-1942, taking business classes.
In 1942, Bill served as a Conscientious Objector (C.O.). He served at a camp at the Cascade Locks in Oregon. He then was sent back to Buckley State Home and School, there he was a groomsman for their cattle. All state hospitals had their own farm and cattle for meat, milk and eggs and gardens for fruits and veggies.
When Bill was released from his term there in 1946, he joined the crews on the Lindenwood Victory carrying 723 project cattle and 32 seagoing cowboys. His trips took him to Poland, then horses from Texas to help restore Europe. Then from New Orleans, they delivered cattle to Shanghai, China and then to New Zealand for sheep then Auckland for cattle to China.
Bill started his beekeeping career with Richard Longnecker…” Once stung with bees you will always be a beekeeper.” In 1956, Bill bought a business where he manufactured bee comb and foundation where he rendered wax for other beekeepers. Bill often took a live working bee frame to the schools to educate children on the life of a bee. His kids would enter the same frame in the fair so they could get in free!
In 1967, Bill and Pat were married, bringing four children to Tonasket. They have lived in the Okanogan County for the past 50 years!
He is survived by his wife, Pat Pyper; sons, Brian Pyper of Omak and Jeffery Pyper of Spokane; daughters, Dea Pearce of Lynwood and Shawn Brazil of Tonasket; ten grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren and his sister, Margaret Pickering of Omak. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Hutton and Ernest and sister, Elsie.
A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 1 p.m. at the Ellisforde Church of the Brethren.
Bergh Funeral Service is in care of arrangements.