“Come this way” he would say as he led you through the nearby woods. Will would bring you to his most beloved places to share in his discoveries. “You might look in this area for the chanterelles.” Like leading a child on an Easter morning egg hunt, Will loved to watch your face light up when finally seeing what he had known to be there all along. Nothing brought him more happiness than being in nature and sharing his passions with family and friends.
Will first experienced this pure joy as a young boy, fishing with his father. His interests flowed like a stream from there: marksmanship, archery, crabbing, clamming, searching for shed antlers, foraging for wild mushrooms, and rock hounding for agates, fossils and rare stones. He loved the self-sufficiency of harvesting and preparing his own food: smoking salmon, raising pigs and patiently curing prosciutto, cooking batches of jam from his strawberry patch, and frying calamari fresh from squid caught by lamp on winter nights.
Will sought out and cherished mentors who guided him along the way. He had a way of engaging people with common interests who would take him under their wing, sharing a skill or knowledge and encouraging him in his pursuits.
In vocation, Will generously answered the call of his aging grandfather and discovered his innate gifts as a caregiver. For three years he took pride in supporting “Gramps” in living a life that allowed for a level of independence and dignity that otherwise would not have been possible.
Will was truly blessed to discover so early what made him feel whole and gave his life meaning. He longed to live a simple life punctuated by generous acts of love and compassion.
To be closer to his favorite natural lands he bought property and drafted plans to build himself a home in Cle Elum. But on the path to the life he dreamed of, Will encountered obstacles that often felt insurmountable. Those closest to him knew he lived courageously with mental illness that could sometimes trick him into believing he was alone on this journey and that perhaps his destination was out of reach.
Tragically, Will’s life ended too soon, leaving those who were there by his side standing in the deepest sorrow. He will forever live in our hearts as a young man who loved deeply and fought hard to live a peaceful and meaningful life.
Will is survived by parents Carolyn (Nelson) and David Zike, sister Mira Zike, grandfather Donald Nelson, Aunts Karin Nelson, Dawn Nelson, Kimberly (Nelson) Fish and Uncle Carl Nelson. Aunts Michelle (Zike) Yates, Terry (Zike) Carver, Donna (Zike) Cannon, Uncles Steve Zike, Brett Zike, Ron Zike, Curt Zike and countless cousins.
Remembrances may be made in Will’s name to Vashon Youth & Family Services or Journeymen Institute.
A celebration of life is planned for Saturday, March 19th, 2022 at 1:00 PM at the Camp Burton Lodge on Vashon Island. We welcome all to attend to remember and honor Will’s life.