To the editor:
Just seven years ago, my Uncle Bill Hemp decided with my Aunt Margaret “Maggie” Hemp that Bainbridge Island would be their home.
All of you welcomed them warmly. Bill’s career had been in advertising — a true blue “mad man” — commuting daily over two hours each way from Long Island for decades where Maggie was raising their five children. In their later years, Bill and Maggie delighted in downtown Winslow where everything was within walking distance and new friends were found easily at the public swimming pool, the bank and St. Cecilia’s.
Two years ago, after 56 years of marriage, Bill lost Maggie. It was a hard blow. Maggie was the love of his life. Bill could have left the Island after that, joining his son in Colorado, but he chose to celebrate his 90th birthday this past summer with his Bainbridge Island friends.
Many of you know Bill as the author of the Bainbridge Island “A to Z Sketch Book” published in 2017. His way of giving back to his adopted hometown was to draw beloved Bainbridge Island landmarks, icons and ships in pen and ink. He also drew your beautiful homes and donated home sketches to raise money for local charities and St. Cecilia’s. His love of the community and his neighbors is reflected in these timeless drawings.
I’m writing to you all now to ask a favor for Bill Hemp — artist, Renaissance man and Bainbridge Island adoptee. Bill is in hospice at Wyatt House, recently diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. I had noticed that after he lost Maggie a couple years back, his spirits were really lifted by the Christmas cards he received that year from friends, family and well-wishers. Bill would string them up around his apartment and delighted in looking at them.
Might you send Bill a Christmas card this holiday season? It doesn’t matter if you knew him, just that you share a love of your community the joy of the season. His mailing address is: Bill Hemp, Wyatt House, 186 Wyatt Way NW, Apt. 218, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110.
Remarkably, from bed, Bill still draws. He has charity pen and ink commissions he has yet to complete.
With gratitude this holiday season,