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William C. Mithoefer ’89

A picture of Bill Mithoefer

William C. Mithoefer ’89, August 12, 2012, in Portland. Bill was born in Ogbomosho, Nigeria, during the Biafran civil war; his father was a U.S. diplomat, his mother an Australian nurse who was later trained as a psychologist. He grew up in Washington, D.C., Cameroon, and Ghana before coming to Reed, where his outsized personality, exuberant thatch of sun-bleached hair, and free spirit earned him the nickname “Surfer Bill.” He earned his BA in American studies and wrote his thesis on the Kefauver Committee. After Reed, Bill lived in Berkeley, California; Australia; and Maui, working construction and chasing waves. He returned to Portland, where he married Corby Watkins; together they ran Hexafoo, a home-furnishings business. Their son, Roscoe, was born in 2007. Bill enrolled at law school at Lewis & Clark in 2009, intending to become a patent attorney. Unfortunately, Bill suffered from depression, whose true depth was unknown to his friends and family. More than 200 friends and family gathered for a memorial in Cerf amphitheatre. Sam Hagerman ’88, JJ Haapala ’88, Io McNaughton ’90, Chris Lydgate ’90, and Robert Klonoff, dean of Lewis & Clark Law School, delivered eulogies; his sister Sarah sang and performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on the ukulele. Afterwards mourners lit candles on one of Bill’s surfboards and launched it into the canyon under the watchful gaze of a blue heron. Bill was an avid reader and an accomplished saxophone player. He also possessed that whimsical brand of humor that is practically the hallmark of Reedies. On paperwork that asked him to list his religion, he wrote “anarcho-syndicalist.” He is survived by his mother, father, sister, wife, son, and two stepchildren. Contributions for Roscoe can be made to Rivermark Community Credit Union 1252210-29.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2012

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