Parents describe son as a hard-working, rising star

Family warns of fentanyl-laced drugs after fatal accidental overdose.

Liz Patterson said her son was a smart, kind person with a gentle soul.

William — also known affectionately as Billy amongst friends and family — thrived in his life by solving problems and helping people and was a rising star with the Hoffman Construction Company, his mom added.

The Mercer Island High School (MIHS) alumnus was a vital member of the Hoffman management crew that is constructing a pedestrian bridge that is slated to connect Pike Place Market with the Seattle waterfront.

“He was just very excited about his job. When he was a kid, he loved to dig and play with trucks and build things and do construction stuff,” said Liz, who now lives in West Seattle. “There’s pictures of him with a hard hat on when he’s 3 and when he’s 7 or whatever. He’s always been interested in building and figuring out how things work.”

On July 22, Billy died from an accidental drug overdose after recreationally taking a counterfeit “M-30” oxycodone pill laced with fentanyl. He was 26 years old.

“It’s just really sad that this happened,” said Liz, adding that the family wants to alert others about the deadly fentanyl-laced drugs. “We wanted something to come out of his death that maybe we could help warn others and we may save a life.”

Added Billy’s father, Dave, an Island resident and former chief psychologist for the Harborview Medical Center burn unit: “People do respond to stories like Billy’s, how one of their peers could end up overdosing and dying. I think that’s the type of message that actually does get through because I spent a lot of time working with how to get messages across to people.”

The family asks that people go to the following link for additional information:


Dave said that Billy’s bosses at Hoffman said their exceptional employee was never late for work, never missed a day on the job and was clear-eyed and ready to take on his tasks from 6:30 a.m. onward.

Billy — who lived with three roommates in a house in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood — was proud of the work he was doing on the Pike Place Market job, Dave said.

“I would have friends that would go to Pike (Place) Market, and he’d notice one of my friends and he’d walk up in his hard hat and say, ‘Hey, it’s Billy.’ He would take them down to the construction site and show them the work, which is really kind of this architectural gem,” said Dave, noting that Billy also oversaw the remodeling of the Snohomish County Courthouse.

In his high school and college days, Billy was the head of the marching band drum lines at MIHS and the University of Washington, and it was at the latter school where he became interested in construction management. He was also a blood donor from his high school days onward, was loyal to his friends, loved to cook, collected vinyl records and recently got into rock climbing, Liz said.

Billy’s older brother Jake, 29, said that his sibling exuded a quiet confidence that he felt was a special quality. Jake said that Billy was quiet and mischievous as a youngster and blossomed into an outgoing and funny man who took on copious responsibilities.

If someone needed help, Billy was there.

“Billy was incredible. I think the fact that he brought the amount of meaning and the amount of influence that he did in the time that he had. He was always someone who would just get stuff done,” said Jake, adding that Billy jumped at the chance to fix a portion of his big brother’s roof when he visited him in Nashville, Tennessee. After buying tools at the hardware store, Billy mended the roof in a few hours while roasting in the Nashville heat.

For information about Billy’s celebration of life on Aug. 22 on Mercer Island, email