Magnificent Sea Creatures of the Pacific Northwest
Call Bilz: 250-285-3468

Jackie Hildering

It is with a deep sense of loss and sympathy for all who loved him that I share that William van Orden has died. Gone is his gift to the world of great caring and creating so that more of us would respect the life off our coast.

So many of us who love this coast have “Bilz Rockfish” art on our walls. It is at the Pacific Biological Station and in salmon enhancement facilities, universities, and aquariums. From his website: “The quest is to create a permanent three-dimensional record of every fish [species] found along the Pacific coast. With over 400 different molds cluttering his shop, it would appear that the quest has turned into an obsession.” All of us who visited him in his natural habitat have seen the abundant evidence of this quest.

My last communication with him was on December 4th and, not surprisingly for our relationship, it was about Sunflower Stars. He was so concerned about their plight. I had asked if I could use the photo you see here. His answer included:
“ . . . the huge Sun Star replica has not had its mold taken from a real specimen as I normally do.  It has been `grown` by a secret process by enlarging a replica that was about one half the size. `It was a long and tedious process but it was the only way since there are no more real specimens to take molds from.  Had to do it so I can show the grand-kids what we used to have on our beach only a few years ago. Keep up your good work!  The world appreciates it.”

Oh sob. You can imagine the gift of those words from someone who did so much good that was so appreciated. To share your memories of this legend of a human, please fill in the form at this link so that the stories may live on and offer joy, comfort and direction. (scroll down just a bit when you get to that page).

Goodbye William.

About the sea stars and so much more, I promise that I, and many others will continue you where left off. For more information about William and his work, please see the blog I posted in 2019

Contact Bilz

Email: bilzrockfish[at]gicable[dot]com
Phone: (250) 285-3468
Box 245, Heriot Bay, BC , V0P 1H0