Long-time rowing coach and former WWU oarsman Bill Kalenius passes away

Bill Kalenius, the 2009 recipient of the Western Washington University Alumni Association Community Service Recognition Award, died today following a long battle with cancer.

Bill Kalenius, 1952-2009
Bill Kalenius, 1952-2009

The 57-year-old Kalenius was director and coach of the Vancouver Lake Crew near Vancouver, Wash., which he founded in 2002. In 2007, he was voted one of the Top 10 “Most Caring” coaches by USA Today.

Kalenius, who graduated from Western in 1974 with a bachelor of arts degree in accounting, rowed two years for the Vikings and then went on to join the Lake Washington Rowing Club, one of the most active clubs in the country.

After serving as a coach for clubs and schools throughout the region, Kalenius took a handful of donated boats and a passion for rowing and turned them into the Vancouver Lake Crew. So strong was the club that in 2008 when a rare tornado touched down and tore through its boathouse located on Vancouver Lake, Kalenius had his rowers back on the water within days. Many of his rowers went on to compete at the collegiate level, including at Western on its women’s national championship teams.

Kalenius worked many years in the timber industry where he helped with sawmill construction and improvement projects throughout the nation.

-Paul Danzer, Vancouver Columbian Staff Writer

Bill will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of meeting him and witnessing firsthand his passion for rowing and life.