William Mann

A celebration of his life will be held at the Vashon Sportsmen’s Club.

It is with great sadness that the Mann family announces the passing of William “Willy/Bill” Mann on January 11, 2024, at his home on Vashon. Bill was born on September 19, 1927, in Redwoods, California, to Karl and Rosa Mann. During the Depression the Mann Family migratedfromNorthernCalifornia through Oregon and finally settling in Yakima, Washington.

When Bill was about six years old Karl moved the family to Coulee City to help maintain, repair and train other mechanics to work on heavy equipment used to build the Grand Coulee Dam. Karl was a skilled steam engineer and diesel mechanic.

The Mann family moved to Vashon in the spring of 1937. According to Bill, they arrived on the 3:20 ferry from Seattle. They lived on Vashon for a few years before they purchased the farm on Cemetery Road known as the Mann’s Deere Farm.

Karl started a tractor business, and Bill and his brother Harold learned to operate and work farm equipment at a young age. At the age of 14 Bill drove the milk truck for Lande Dairy. The local sheriff stopped Bill during his route. He asked Bill if he had a driver’s license yet. Bill replied that he had not. The sheriff took out a driver’s license form and proceeded to go down the list and check off all the driving maneuvers that he had seen Bill doing on his route. The sheriff then signed the form and told Bill to go turn it to the licensing department so he would have a license.

Bill graduated from Vashon High School. He tried to enlist in the military; however, due to a permanent eye injury, he did not qualify. So Bill stayed on the Mann farm and worked with Karl in the family tractor business.

Bill became a very skilled mechanic, machinist and inventor. He would design his own unique parts to add to his equipment to help it perform better or streamline a job. He retired from tractor work at the age of 92.

What Bill is most known for is the Vashon Deere Pond that he created back in 1989.The Deere Pond is an exactreplica of the John Deere trademark that the company used in the early to mid 1950s. Karl purchased a brand new tractor and received a cloth banner which hung in their shop next to a window looking out over that part of the property. Bill decided to use the logo from that banner as his template. The Deere Pond was completed in the fall of 1989. It was his brother, Harold’s idea to put the Christmas lights and a red nose on the pond.The pond has been enjoyed by Vashon locals and people around the world.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents Karl and Rosa Mann, his sisters Lillian and Ethel, and brother, Harold, his nephew Mark Mann and his niece Karen Street. He is survived by his nieces Petra Mann (William Hoolahan), Monica Mann (Ben Hussman), Janice (Steve) Volmer, Amy Hardwick, and nephew Daniel (Stacy) Hardwick, and many others.

A celebration of his life will be held at the Vashon Sportsmen’s Club on Sunday, April 28, at 1:00 p.m.