William E. “Bill” Haberman, Sr., 89, lifetime Ellensburg resident, passed away at his home on Sunday, November 15, 2020. Viewing for family and friends will be Friday, November 20, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Johnston & Williams Funeral Home in Ellensburg. Due to current restrictions, in person attendance for the funeral will be limited to immediate family, however a livestream will be available for the community starting at 12:55 p.m. on Saturday, November 21, 2020 on our website (see below).
Bill was born on July 16, 1931 to William “Will” & Alice (O’Neill) Haberman and was the only surviving child of their marriage. His father died when Bill was 14 years old and so he stepped up and became a cattleman and farmer at a very early age helping his mom to run the operation.
Bill married the love of his life, Bernice “Bernie” Alice Gregerich on November 6, 1954 and for 66 years they have fostered the love of farming, ranching and faith in their children. As the family grew into 7 children the Number 9 brand and Ranch name truly reflected the family of 9. Running the ranch was more than a full-time job but with the loving support, incredible cooking, and constant help from Bernie, Bill was also able to give back to the community.
Bill was very involved in the community including serving in many roles within the agricultural community of Kittitas County including the “Get Up and Go” 4-H club, Kittitas County 4-H Endowment Fund and the Ellensburg Chapter of the FFA Alumni Association. He also served as a board member for the Kittitas County Fair, Kittitas County Cattlemen’s Association, Kittitas County Farm Bureau, Kittitas County Conservation District, and the Cascade Irrigation District. He was honored nationally as an American Future Farmer of the Year in 1949; Cattleman of the year in 1968; the inaugural Kittitas County Farm Family of the Year in 2012 and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kittitas County Cattlemen’s Association in 2015. He was also a member of the Ellensburg Rodeo Gold Buckle Club.
Bill was a proud Republican and member of the Kittitas County Republican Party. In 2014, the KCRP awarded him with a Lifetime Achievement award. He also loved to dance and enjoyed a good party and was a past member of the Rigadoon Dance Club, where he and Bernie would cut many a rug. He was the instigator of many a good time. He also enjoyed spending time at “the cabin”, which was built out of the roof that had once covered a bright blue single wide trailer he had bought until the cabin could be built. Building the cabin was a project he enjoyed with Karl Schademan and “Jack”. He hunted, entertained, watched the Cougars and “escaped” there.
Bill was a devout Catholic, ensuring all his children attended Lourdes Academy, and was an active member of St. Andrew’s Parish in Ellensburg. He was a fourth degree Knight of Columbus, served on the St. Andrew’s finance committee and was also a Deacon.
Of course, no summary of Bill’s life would be complete without including his fervent love of the Washington State University Cougars, having paid tuition to that school for six of his children. He was a member and contributor to the Cougar Athletic Fund and contributed financially to most of the people that he bet with on the Apple Cup. In fact, he came home from the hospital because he wanted to watch one last Cougar football game with his family. He waited until all the family members had gathered to say their goodbye and, after the game ended and the lights were turned off for bed, and he was able to go.
Bill is survived by his wife of 66 years Bernice A Haberman; children Bill A. (Dianna), Bob (Susie), Becky (Kevin) McDowell, Brad (Marina), Ben (Mary Sue), Brent (partner Ron Smith) and Berna; grandchildren Jennifer, Breanne, Adam, Scott, Tyler, Blake, Morgan, Mason, Maddy, Chase, Slate, William, Gianna, Caroline as well as six great-grandchildren and step-grandchildren Sierra and Joshua. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Alex Haberman.
Memorial contributions in Bill’s honor are suggested to Hospice Friends, 302 E. 2nd Avenue or to Aging and Long-Term Care, 206 W 1st Ave, both in Ellensburg. There is also the option of rooting for the Cougars in this year’s Apple Cup.
Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Bill’s family. Online condolences may be left at www.johnston-williams.com
Bill’s last request was his saddle to be hung in the apple tree next to the cabin with his urn placed underneath it. “If you come up and the saddle is missing don’t worry, I’m out for a ride but I’ll bring it back”.
Enjoy the ride Dad!
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