William Barnhill (Bill) Thelen , 59, of Missoula, passed away on Wednesday, June 26 at St. Patrick Hospital, unexpectedly, from a heart attack.
To send flowers in memory of William Barnhill "Bill" Thelen, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Bill was born on September 23, 1959, in San Francisco, California, to Max and Phyllis Thelen of San Rafael. The youngest of four children, he grew up enjoying skateboarding, skiing, music, and family travel. At Mt. Tamalpais School in Kentfield, he played trumpet in the high school jazz band. Bill graduated from UC Santa Barbara with honors in English, in 1981. While in college he took up surfing, which was a passion for the rest of his life.
Bill had a variety of interests and talents, initially working as a technical writer, eventually gravitating toward the building trades, running his own General Contracting business, BT Builder. He brought artistry and attention to detail in his work, excelling at fine carpentry and tile design. He was a licensed massage therapist and a fine amateur photographer.
Bill married Dawn Marie Ciccotti in 1991, and together they started their family in Novato, surrounded by a large community of family and friends. His favorite pastimes revolved around his young sons’ school and sports activities, baseball and biking. He and Dawn Marie beautifully complimented each other in creating a warm and welcoming home.
In 2005, Bill moved his family to Corvallis, Montana, drawn by its natural beauty, small communities, and wide-open spaces. He extended his business to include real estate development and property management. Bill’s favorite time was spent with his boys, snowboarding, biking and hiking, and assisting Dawn Marie with Gourmet to Go. He was a generous supporter and volunteer in the Corvallis High School Music Program, donating a piano and playing trumpet in a school orchestra performance.
In 2014, Bill and family relocated to Missoula, where he gradually wound down his business to enjoy remodeling his own homes and learning guitar. He proudly shared that he had mastered several classic blues riffs. He and Dawn Marie recently had a few perfect vacations, attending the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii, where he met and talked with some of his favorite professional surfers, and surfing with old friends in Santa Cruz, California.
Bill was devoted to his family as a loving husband and father, son and brother. He had a big and tender heart, always warming up the room with his generous display of emotion and connection. Among cousins, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, Bill was always the favorite.
Bill is predeceased by his father, Max Thelen, Jr., and survived by his mother, Phyllis Thelen, wife, Dawn Marie Thelen, sons, William and Miles Thelen, siblings Nancy Rehkopf (Jim), Jane Greene (Holt), and Max Thelen III (Dana). Survivors also include in-laws Jay and Tana Ciccotti and twelve nieces and nephews.