Remembering Bill Ruckelshaus, True Friend to Puget Sound

Jonathan Bridgman
Puget Sound Partnership
2 min readDec 11, 2019


We lost a true friend to Puget Sound when Bill Ruckelshaus passed away in the final days of November. Bill’s environmental foresight, commitment to ecosystem recovery, ability to connect with the business community, and expert advice have been an invaluable asset to Puget Sound and the Partnership. Bill often said that achieving Puget Sound recovery is not a one-time event, it’s something we all have to work at “everlastingly” because change continues — climate change continues, population growth continues, and therefore our work to protect Puget Sound must continue.

Bill’s storied career, and service to our nation, were remarkable. We here in Washington State are deeply fortunate that he chose to continue his public service here after leaving Washington, D.C. In particular, the Puget Sound Partnership benefitted lastingly from his vision as one of the agency’s creators, and his leadership as the first Chair of our Leadership Council.

Even after Bill stepped down from the Leadership Council, he continued to serve the Partnership, advising the Partnership’s Executive Directors whenever they called, and participating in celebratory events whenever requested.

“Bill Ruckelshaus demonstrated how a committed leader who treasures both a place and its people can affect the human and ecological landscape for decades,” said Laura Blackmore, the Partnership’s Executive Director. “Mr. Ruckelshaus translated his passion for Puget Sound into a movement that continues to gather strength to this day. His belief in the wisdom of collaborative decision-making, and his conviction that local folks know what’s best for their watersheds, guide our agency’s approach to Puget Sound recovery. Puget Sound and its people benefited tremendously from his vision and leadership, and the Partnership is committed to continuing his work into the future.”

Bill Ruckelshaus was a warm, humble, kind human being who connected with world leaders and recent college graduates alike. He was a great man who was not afraid to lead and to do what he believed was right, and we shall miss him.

-The Puget Sound Partnership