Bill Ranniger at Duke's Seafood sitting with a glass of red wine

In Loving Memory

Bill Ranniger

Our dear friend, loyal team member, leader, partner, brilliant creator and an integral part of what makes Duke's special passed away this weekend.

Bill Ranniger started as a sous chef in our Bellevue location in 1995, worked as a server and a General Manager before he turned his passion for providing the ultimate guest experience to the kitchen again, and by 2004 Bill was running the show as Duke’s Executive Chef. Bill dreamed up many incredibly tasty delights during his tenure, but it’s his gentle, playful spirit that we’ll remember most.

Bill's Pacific Northwest Culinary Legacy

Bill's kindness, leadership, and love touched our lives. He will be greatly missed, but his gentle spirit will stay in our hearts forever.

In lieu of flowers, Bill's family requests that memorial gifts be designated to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center for cancer research. Memorials can be made online at or mailed to Fred Hutch, 1100 Fairview Ave N, Mail Stop J5-200 Seattle, WA 98109. Please make sure to include Bill Ranniger’s name when making the donation.

Bill Touched the Lives of Many

To celebrate Bill's incredible life, we invite you to share a memory here. Post a funny story, a heartfelt message to his family, or write what Bill meant to you.


  1. Blair on July 7, 2023 at 12:06 am

    Bill was such a kind and generous guy. Was lucky to have known him and worked for him. He’ll be missed.

  2. Billy Morgan on July 6, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    So very glad to have had the honor of meeting and talking to “Wild Bill”. I’m sure that I’m not the only one to think we would have more time. God bless and rest easy. We are not long behind you. Hope to see you at the big table some day, and thanx man! Thanks to Duke’s too, hang in there! Love, “mild Bill”

  3. Joanne and Bill Suttmeier on June 29, 2023 at 9:51 pm

    We grew to “ know” Chef Bill during the pandemic. We ordered many meal kits, enjoyed delicious and easily prepared food at home… in 7 minutes! We exchanged plating pics and fun verbal exchanges. We gained a few pounds but it was sooo worth it. A bright spot in a bleak time. I’m so sad that we never got to meet in person but I feel like I know him. So sad for the loss of this amazing person. What a treasure!

  4. Terry Majerski on June 29, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    I met Bill an Dukes Southcenter a few years ago and enjoyed chatting with him. Whenever he was there, he would always stop to say hi…if he created an ‘experimental offering’/something new to try, he would always give a sample so I could let him know my thoughts. I will miss his kindness and his influence on the culinary delights. Rest in peace…God bless…

  5. Chef Scott Sneddon on June 21, 2023 at 10:08 pm

    I worked at Duke’s for 11 years and Chef Bill was highly respected by his peers. I left the company in 2000 but he was an amazing chef and very talented and liked. May he rest in peace. To all the Duke’s family may Bill’s legacy live for eternity god bless.

  6. Doug Knechtel on June 21, 2023 at 12:12 am

    I have fond memories of my cousin Bill Ranniger. I am very sad to hear of his death, and my deepest condolences to his family and relatives.

  7. Danae (Hoefs) Bryant on June 20, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    I’m so sad to learn of Bill’s passing. I knew him more during his childhood than as an adult. Bill and his brother Dan met my brother Blaine in grade school and were friends ever since. They had a lot of fun adventures growing up together. From exploring the islands to following the Grateful Dead. They worked together during their teen years at local restaurants and even drove popsicle carts one summer. After Blaine passed, my husband and I met with Bill and his lovely wife, Lisa for lunch at the Southcenter Duke’s where we enjoyed a wonderful meal and shared many fond memories. Bill had a big heart and I will always remember his kindness. My heart goes out to Lisa, his family and friends. Love will see you through.

  8. Gordy Taylor on June 17, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    I just heard the Sad News. Seattle lost a great Chef, his family and Friends lost a great Person. I got to know Bill in like 1991 when he was a Sous Chef at Dukes Bellevue. I was Dukes Foodservice Vendor at FSA. Bill was a fast learner and I got to watch him grow as a Chef and a Manager. As Dukes grew ,Bill became Exec Chef and grew to become the Icon Exec Chef Bill for Dukes Restaurants. You will be deeply missed Bill RIP ❤️

  9. Patricia Hybak on June 17, 2023 at 10:29 am

    My husband and I loved the Wine Tasting Parties, where Chef Ranniger and many wine company representatives hosted delightful evenings filled with food and wine pairings and fabulous stories! He was a lovely person and an amazing chef.

  10. Joe Vego on June 16, 2023 at 10:15 pm

    My heart aches to hear of Bill’s passing. He was the first Chef that I’ve ever met that was nice to a front of house person. His personality, kindness, and genuine care for people carried through the BOH staff. Bill still touched the lives of every guest even from the Back of the House because he absolutely cared 100% about what he did and how it affected people. That’s the heart of Dukes Chowderhouse. The best place I’ve ever worked at to this day! Soar high Bill!

  11. Missy Morehart on June 16, 2023 at 5:39 pm

    There were six of us that came to the many Dukes beer dinners in Tacoma. We would always go into the bar after for a nightcap and many times Bill joined us. Maybe it was because we all wore our Harley shirts or maybe he just knew we were fun people, but he would sit with us and tell us stories. We would all laugh and it was always a fun time! He was a sweet, funny man and he will be missed!

  12. Mike & Northwest Gourmet Foods on June 16, 2023 at 12:18 pm

    Chef. Wild. Chowder Boy.
    We are sharing in the sadness of the loss of our good friend Bill. He was passionate, humble, kind, creative and brilliant.
    The visits and time we were lucky to share with Bill included smiles, laughter, wisdom and knowledge. His genuine and personable interest in our lives always made us feel like family not just business partners. These are memories we will cherish and remember upon often. He was larger than life and we will celebrate him through delicious food, laughter and storytelling.
    ~ to live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die~

  13. Woody Brown on June 15, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    I was lucky enough to interview Chef Bill for my high school radio show in April 2022. He gave his time so generously, and we chatted about how he became a chef, his love for food especially Pacific Northwest seafood, his commitment to sustainability, and his respect for the food producers who he met and had become long-term friends with. He also talked me through the Duke’s menu, including his favorite dishes, and dishes that were the most popular with his customers. He was so kind to spend so long chatting with me, just a 16 year-old student. But I can tell from all the comments that this was simply another example of his big-hearted generosity.

  14. Rebecca on June 15, 2023 at 11:50 am

    I still make the Thanksgiving stuffing recipe you gave me a couple of decades ago. Rest in peace Bill. -Rebecca

  15. Rich Carr on June 15, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Oh, the countless cherished moments I’ve shared with Bill! Together with Duke, we embarked with others on unforgettable journeys to the bountiful fisheries of Alaska. Those were the days when sustainability wasn’t a trend, but a genuine commitment upheld at Duke’s before sustainability was cool. Amidst the breathtaking landscapes, my most treasured recollection took place at the mouth of the Yukon River, a place so remote that its true magnificence eludes the imagination.

    Nestled in a raised cabin, perched above the marshes, we found ourselves surrounded by nothing but the symphony of mosquitoes and the presence of majestic bears. Yet, within the confines of our amazingly remote and cozy haven, lathered up with ‘bug dope,’ we were cocooned in warmth, laughter, and camaraderie. Encircled by protective nets, we relished in the finest wine, indulged in the freshest, most delectable salmon that defied all expectations. Bill, with his culinary prowess, transformed those beauties into mouthwatering delights while we reveled in each other’s company, filling the evening air with mirth and jest.

    And just last year, an act of pure serendipity unfolded. Bill graciously purchased a puppy from my daughter, AnneMarie in Texas, bridging our lives even further. My heart swelled with affection, for it was a testament to our enduring bond. To this day, every glimpse of a salmon image, a tantalizing dish, or a passing mention of that remarkable fish, evokes memories of Bill. Those memories, so profoundly etched in my soul, shall forever be held dear.

  16. Bettina Carey, aka Tina on June 15, 2023 at 7:57 am

    It’s with a heavy heart to hear about the passing of one of the very best humans that ever lived! A giant among giants in his heart and in his deeds, he will sorely be missed by all whose life he touched, and there were thousands to be sure, including mine!

    Sending my condolences to his immediate family, his Duke’s family (which I was a part 2013 to 2017) and to all those who will mourn his loss.

    My fondest memory was traveling with Wild Bill and Duke along with 40 other guests to promote the cookbook before it was printed. We had such a great time on the cruise with his son, Duke and the whole group creating a half dozen fun-filled events. Duke and Bill have always been quite the fun, gregarious team and many laughs were had during our week-long cruise. Bill was always the life of the party!

    RIP Bill, you will forever be in my heart!

  17. Matt Rockcastle on June 15, 2023 at 1:33 am

    I attended Bill & Lisa’s Wedding.
    After the Ceremony I saw a Wedding Cake my Mother made.
    Surprised: Bill said “We heard Your Mom makes the Best Wedding Cakes”

    Later , Bill & Lisa introduced Me to Will, Johnny & Samantha ❤️


  18. Savannah Eden (Migliuri) on June 14, 2023 at 11:44 pm

    He was one of the kindest, most genuine, loving humans I’ve ever known, let alone worked for. He was so talented and his invention of the butterfinger ice cream cake circa ‘02 was I remember him trying to calm down my overly sensitive 17 y/o self after a not so nice guest, and he said “Savannah. Angry people don’t deserve your energy. Let it be.” I’ll never forget it. I live by that.
    He was my first boss 21 years ago at the Greenlake location with sweet Perri and he remains my favorite and most cherished boss after all these years. I credit some of the best times of my life to Bill. Truly.
    Bill, I’m crying for you now but I’ll be laughing and eating and dancing with you later. Rest in love and peace and all the good things, my friend. See you on the other side.

  19. Dave Molenda on June 14, 2023 at 7:19 pm

    I used to frequent Duke’s Tacoma several years ago… One day I’m sitting at the bar, and this big dude walks out of the kitchen, and sits down at the bar right next to me, he was done for the day. We chit chat a bit, and start talking about whiskey’s. He tells me that Duke’s has a “signature” brand with Pendleton and then points at the bottle on the top shelf… Next thing I know we are having a couple shots together! (on him) I soon figured out who Wild Bill is, and was, and I’m so very sad to hear of his passing… My brief moment was so fun and relaxed, and he seemed to just simply be a very cool guy. RIP Bill

  20. Ingrid Pape-Sheldon on June 14, 2023 at 4:54 pm

    It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around it that Bill left us. My heart goes out to his family and the Duke’s team. I am so sorry for your loss.

    I had the honor of working with Bill some years ago on countless photo shoots for the big cookbook “As Wild As it Gets”. It was always a pleasure to encounter Bill. He always had a smile and was ready for a big hug. He gave hugs you remember. I still remember the one when I saw him the last time at a James Beard event some years ago.

    There are people that become your signposts in your inner map of the world, even if you don’t see them often. Bill was that kind of person. He had a joy of life and inner wisdom that he had not to put out there, but you felt it. He navigated the sometime fierce tempo of the restaurant business and restaurant kitchen turbulences with even-keeled grace, patience and kindness to everybody. We had so much fun in the long process of creating this book, moving in and out of the kitchen, arranging food on the plate and positioning the salad leaves just right. And of course eating together too.

    I raise my glass to you, Bill. My life is richer for having known you. I wish you smooth sailing wherever you are heading. Thank you from my heart
    Ingrid, and with condolences from Frank too.

  21. Harv Tan on June 14, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    No pretenses. Genuinely a very nice person; don’t forget people like him

  22. Cindy on June 14, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    Wild Bill was always bigger than life. So friendly and kind at all the events we saw him at, from Beer tasting to festivals to the Bellevue opening. Our thoughts and prayers are with family & friends.

  23. Susan Jones on June 14, 2023 at 12:01 pm

    My husband and I enjoyed many a beer dinner or wine dinner evening with Wild Bill telling stories and always saying “Cheers” before sampling a libation. I remember his family being present for one of these dinner and he in was so proud of them as he introduced them and made sure we knew we had true VIPS dining with us. Thank you Bill for all that you have done for Duke’s. I have your cookbook and use it frequently. Thoughts and prayers to Bill’s family and Duke’s.

  24. David L. McDonald on June 14, 2023 at 12:01 pm

    I was a vendor for Bill when he ran Houlihan’s restaurant in Bellevue around 1990. The restaurant was soon to close and he went out of his way to make sure the small company I worked for, Harvest Foods, was paid. Any vendor to the food industry knows that can be a very dicey situation.
    Bill had a strong crew who supported him and who worked their way up to become chefs and vendors themselves.
    It was great to watch him have a great career as a chef and also a teacher of the culinary arts.
    God bless you Bill.

  25. John Mannix on June 14, 2023 at 10:39 am

    My wife and I have enjoyed many meals and special occasions at Duke’s over the years. We met “Wild Bill” at a winemaker dinner well over a decade ago, and instantly connected with him.

    Due to my wife’s own culinary skills, and their detailed conversation about the meal, we became Facebook friends. It never failed to warm my heart when Bill would like, or comment on, one of Anne’s incredible meals that we had posted.

    He was an amazing chef and man… humble, passionate, and kind, and we are deeply saddened by his passing.

  26. Jake W on June 14, 2023 at 10:25 am

    Bill was so kind and friendly to everyone he encountered. I worked in Tacoma for almost 4 years. Every time he came in I was greeted with a big hug. Great man gone too soon. Rest in chef paradise Wild Bill. You will be missed!!

  27. Aida and Sandra on June 14, 2023 at 10:13 am

    Sandra and Aida here ♥ We have always love Dukes, it is our happy place or call it like a Willy Wonka Candy Factory for us every Friday night and at times even Saturday during happy hour to relax 🙂 ♥. I have always wanted to be a Professional Chef myself, but I ended being an Accountant instead :). So, when Sandra and I met Bill, I was so excited and as we get to know him, he is like a Mr. Teddy Bear that is full of Zen’s energy around him. He is so sweet, kind and the conversation with him is so easy. We are even more excited when Bill is gets done with his shift, and we get to sit with him at the bar. He had bought us some drinks and even covered our whole bill once or twice. I think because he feels and appreciate that we have always complement Dukes, the staff, you have got to love Cuc ♥, Mr. Duke himself, as well as his wife Isabella. One thing I mentioned to Bill was when Garrett was still the GM back then, I overheard Garrett wants all the wine glasses re-wash because they have water marks, I was immediately impressed because that says a lot about how Dukes takes pride of their customer. We will always cherish Bill’s memory and will continue to spread his love to others. Cheers Bill, you will always have a spot in our heart ♥♥♥

  28. Terri Virant on June 14, 2023 at 9:55 am

    I didn’t know Bill….sounds like a fabulous, kind person.

    We love Duke’s and just have to mention the tribute to this man is so beautiful….I felt like I knew him.
    Many hugs to his family and the Duke’s family!

  29. Linda Keck on June 14, 2023 at 9:28 am

    We were so blessed to have Bill as one of our headliner chefs the past few years (pre Covid) at the Port Angeles Crab Festival. Bill drew a crowd each and every time and he was there to teach and always entertained everyone with his wonderful stories. Oh yes he was also a wonderful chef….a gentle giant and how he loved his wife and family. We love you Bill and will miss you always.

  30. Jerry on June 14, 2023 at 9:04 am

    My wife and I ate at the green lake restaurant and talk to him briefly he was a very humble nice guy and a great chef he will be missed!

  31. Lilani Estacio Dunn on June 14, 2023 at 8:58 am

    I had the pleasure and honor to work with Chef Bill while I was with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. When food influencers were just entering the scene, Bill and Duke helped us a host events to help spread the word of Alaska Seafood. His passion and talent will be forever missed. Sending love to his family and his Duke’s family as well.

  32. Brice Dudman on June 14, 2023 at 8:17 am

    Had the pleasure of knowing Bill and was proud to call him a friend. All the accolades are well-deserved. He was a special guy with exceptional culinary skills. and will be truly missed. May he Rest In Peace!

  33. Desiray on June 14, 2023 at 7:06 am

    I worked at Dukes at South Lake union for a little over a year back in 2016. Dukes is very family oriented, I got to meet Bill just a handful of times and one of those times was when the cookbook came out and they were doing a photo shoot. His work ethic was so inspiring! my heart goes out to his Family and his Dukes Family ❤️

  34. Debbie on June 13, 2023 at 11:16 pm

    My husband and I have enjoyed Dukes in different locations on many occasions and still do but remember with fondest of memories a wine dinner that we attended in the South Center location not long after it opened and Bill was the Chef that prepared and presented his food paired with some wonderful wines! His food was delicious and he made it so fun and memorable! Thank you for your contribution in the joy and happiness in our lives and probably many of others! Sorry to the family for your loss, I am sure your beautiful memories of him surpass any that we have. But we cherish the taste we had in his life and give you our heartfelt condolences knowing your loss is is so great!
    We have enjoyed his food and skills as a chef for many years! We ate there last Sunday and Thank him for his contribution in many peoples exquisite delight!

  35. Angela Bridgman on June 13, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    We first met Bill at a Ruston wine dinner. When he heard how much we loved the crab cakes and the blueberry salmon, he talked us through making both recipes, (this was pre-cookbook) patiently answering my many questions and even bringing us some of the special blueberries from the kitchen so I could attempt the recipe at home. His love for food and joy of sharing it with people was so contagious! His enthusiasm, kindness, and delicious recipes have made Duke’s our go-to for many years since that evening. We will miss him!

  36. Kara P. on June 13, 2023 at 10:01 pm

    I am so very sorry for his family’s loss and the Duke’s family of folks’ loss. We so very much loved our Covid meals he created! They were truly a special and bright spot in our lives in an otherwise dark and scary time. He will be so missed and so happily remembered.

  37. Rachel Hobbs on June 13, 2023 at 9:36 pm

    As a server at the Kent station Duke’s I met Bill on a few occasions. He had such a positive and happy personality you couldn’t help but smile right along with him. I’ll never forget the crazy colored chef pants he would wear and I always thought what an amazing character he had. He will be great missed by the dukes family and all the lives he touched through his work.

  38. Ken Lindberg on June 13, 2023 at 8:57 pm

    In Hemet, California where business brings me 4 times a year, there was a steakhouse called Duke’s which closed before I got a chance to try it. But looking at their menu online, they had a bourbon glazed salmon. When Duke’s Seafood began making their own blend of Woodford Reserve bourbon, I emailed Duke’s suggesting they add a bourbon glazed salmon entree to the menu. Bill actually concocted a recipe that he emailed to me, and while it never made it to the menu at Duke’s, I still have the recipe. Now that he’s gone, I will treasure it even more. Rest in peace Chef.

  39. Hiilgers Family/Seattle on June 13, 2023 at 8:55 pm

    You left magic, and joy wherever you were…. You are missed by SO many!! We will look up to the stars, and thank you for your presence!!! You have made a difference in SO many lives…..

  40. Rob Mendel on June 13, 2023 at 8:42 pm

    Wild Bill was a fantastic chef. So many beautiful memories of his culinary creations and wit at wine and beer dinners at many Duke’s locations. As Bill would like to say “Cheers!” my friend, I lift my glass in honor and memory of you.

  41. Charissa Keller on June 13, 2023 at 8:00 pm

    My husband and I met working at Dukes many years ago. We had the pleasure of working with Bill back at the Lake Bellevue location. We enjoyed working with him and hanging out after work often. He was a great guy and always so nice and caring. He will be greatly missed.

  42. Cleo on June 13, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    Our deepest condolences to Bill’s personal and work families. It is so hard to lose such a dear one. May he be with all his angels who have preceded him.

  43. Peggy Mauge on June 13, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    Prayers to there family! Didn’t know him personally, so sorry for your loss at Dukes. Greenlake was where we ate!

  44. Amie Harris on June 13, 2023 at 6:27 pm

    I worked at dukes, in multiple locations for close to 7 years. I remember in my second year at the Southcenter location, before we opened for the day. I was watching Bill create a fruit platter for an event. He was carving an apple into the shape of a swan and offered to show me how. It was a simple gesture- but one that showed how kind he was. He was never too busy to make a connection with a fellow employee.

  45. Jim Stone on June 13, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    We would often be at the same Seafood Festivals as Bill, he always popped by to say hello, not just because he loved our Alaska Scallops but just to say hello. On a couple of occasions, he found us so busy he actually jumped into the booth and started searing scallops with us. When my pan caught on fire (fire is not a thing fishermen are fond of), he told me with his big grin, “love the flame and work with it” as he showed me how to relax and let it go out without panicking. Thank you, Sensei. When we visited Bill at work, no matter how busy he always stopped to say hello and catch up. We miss you already Big Guy;-(

  46. Marshall Rothman on June 13, 2023 at 5:50 pm

    I am so very sorry to receive such bad news. A couple years ago when I moved to Seattle, I went to Duke’s Greenlake. I had been there years ago on a visit to Seattle, and it is my favorite Duke’s location. I saw that there was a beautiful cookbook by Duke’s. My career was always in the food business, and I have had a passion for cookbooks.

    I emailed Duke’s headquarters to order a book and requested that it be signed. My collection is 750 cookbooks, and Bill responded to that when he signed the book. The book is beautiful and excellent, and now I will treasure the book because of Bill’s personal note.

    My heartfelt feelings go out to Bill’s wife and three children. One of the hardest bridges of life is to lose a loved one, and it is overwhelming to give thought to Bill’s family’s loss! My deepest feelings and wishes go to Bill’s family and to his Duke’s family!

  47. Chuck Eads on June 13, 2023 at 5:41 pm

    I knew Bill for close to 40 years. He was always a unique combination of creativity, diligence, perseverance and fun. One of our last conversations was appropriately on St Patrick’s Day this year. It started with a text from him explaining that he could not get an obnoxious song out of his head that I used to sing when we were serving celebrants on a St Pats some 30+ years prior and continued with a few memories expressed with his usual wit. He will be missed by all who came to know him, but he leaves such wonderful memories.

  48. Cara Kennedy on June 13, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    I ordered a couple of the meal kits during the pandemic and Bill personally wrote some nice notes about prepping the items in the box. You could see he had so much care and attention for all the products. Over the years we have gone to all of the Duke’s locations and we think you have really created a unique and wonderful atmosphere – I am sure Bill was a huge part of that. Best wishes to all of you at the restaurant and to Bill’s family during this time… Thanks for everything, Bill!

  49. Ipek Dols on June 13, 2023 at 4:55 pm

    I had the pleasure of working with Bill at Dukes for 7 years while I was a server. He was always so positive and outgoing. He will be missed dearly.

  50. Casey McNerthney on June 13, 2023 at 4:54 pm

    When we had our wedding party at Duke’s, Bill was the man behind the meal. In the years since, many people have said it was by far the best meal they’d ever had at a wedding or wedding party. That was because of Bill. His skill and kindness that day – even working extra on a weekend to make sure it was the perfect experience – is remembered and appreciated. Thank you, Bill.

  51. Martin and Jill Blackburn on June 13, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    My wife and I are regulars down green lake and have attended many beer or wine pairings. Being English I especially enjoyed the beer ones. Over at Alki a few years back we went to a beer and meat pairing where Bill would taste the meat, drink half a pint of beer, raise his glass and say Cheers. Well, cheers to you Bill, we will all miss you.

  52. Renita Warn on June 13, 2023 at 4:27 pm

    I will never forget the lovely email that I received from Sir Bill when the Caesar dressing container exploded all over my meal kit…

    “I’m so sorry about your meal kit this week. Having a Caesar Salad with not enough dressing is just wrong. Not only that, so sorry about the mess.” – Bill

    Sir Bill also did invite me to pick up another meal kit with special crab cakes and other goodies. Still have a photo of the hand written note. He was world class and we he was part of why we call Dukes our favorite restaurant in the Seattle area.

    Rest in Peace! And hope all the angels that you are among enjoy your cooking!

    Thank You!

  53. Diane Setness on June 13, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I broke my leg during Covid and was not able to do much for myself. The meal kits became my weekly go to meal that I looked forward to. I was able to drive to the Bellevue location where the kit was conveniently delivered to my car. I received personalized notes every week thanking me for my support. Bill would include a Dukes Ready Anytime Seasoning gift and commentary/education on the ingredients. He asked for pictures of the plated meal, which I sent. It was a very nice personal touch. I am sad to read of his passing.

  54. Les Berenson MD on June 13, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    I have too many memories – Initially from my GMO Free Wa. days meeting Duke and Bill an hearing their compassion for safe clean food. Later I coordinated the Seattle ThanksLiving Basket Brigade and Bill came to serve the volunteers clam chowder and share stories and mirth. I would see Bill periodically and we both share love for old music and we ran into each other at St Michelle, listening to John Fogerty sing “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” (in the pouring Rain) . It was a memorable hug. There many special multi course dinners at Dukes – Bill was hilarious (Duke was quiet). “Hi Bill” will never be forgotten. Laugh on .

  55. Helena Masar on June 13, 2023 at 3:52 pm

    So sorry to hear that such a brilliant man has left his Earth, He will be missed ! I ordered the meal kits in Bellevue during covid and loved his letters, I ended up having a conversation with him via email. I shared a crab cake story with him and that he has two Helena’s (friends) picking up meal kits. This was his reply :

    “Helena #1,

    HAHAHA, That’s great, love having two Helena’s! Didn’t realize until I started doing my follow up emails.

    Really love the connection. Hearing your enjoyment and enthusiasm, really is uplifting and exceptional.

    Duke and I have been talking about doing an East Coast Trip, we buy our clams for our clam chowder and want to do the International/Boston Seafood Show, it is the biggest in the world. Won’t happen this year. But we go to the end of the world, to eat well and try crab cakes. I forward this to him, we’ll get Fager’s on the list.

    Going crabbing as a kid, living in an old broken down houseboat, no running water or electricity. Some of my life’s fondest memories. So glad you see that joy if brought to me. I absolutely LOVE “Thursday Night Pull”, so great. I’ll share that with our writers and Duke, for need to make a meal kit with that name. Maybe the week after this we are doing stuffed prawns or stuffed salmon.

    When people ask me to spell, write or fix a car, I usually tell them I make really good chowder. Chefs usually don’t do the things I’m attempting to do. So I’m totally fine laughing at myself (still smiling writing this).

    Appreciate you so much,

    PS. The Bill the cooks, not the Bill you get in the mail and don’t like

  56. Sharon and Ed on June 13, 2023 at 3:40 pm

    We met Bill at a wine pairing dinner in Bellevue and fell in love with his infectious personality. After the dinner, we thought what an amazing experience, mainly due to Bill because not only is he an excellent chef, but also an excellent person to be around. He made us feel like we were his good friends over for dinner. It is something neither of us will every forget and he will be greatly missed.

  57. Rob Esaw. on June 13, 2023 at 3:38 pm

    Bill was a great customer. A gentle giant.

    He treated his suppliers as true business partners. He was passionate for his business, for Duke, and Duke’s, for his customers, and for Alaska seafood.

    He always gave us an audience. And even when we didn’t see things the same way, he continued to work with us. I was able to be at my best as a sales professional when calling on him because we were able to work so closely.

    He supported us, and the industry, with our promotions and demanded premium products and performance. He took personal time to attend events as a representative of the northwest. Bill was part of this organization that is probably the best Alaska seafood marketer in the PNW.

    Thank you, Bill: my thoughts are with you, Duke, your associates, and family.

  58. Mac Wright on June 13, 2023 at 3:27 pm

    I worked for Dukes for 5 years, from an Expo to a Server to a Bartender to a Shift Lead/Supervisor. Every time Bill came in he brought such a joy and love of his craft. He always had a joke ready or an in depth explanation as to why he genuinely believed he was serving the highest quality food he could source. Bill was truly a fantastic guy to work with, and a rare Chef. He’ll be missed.

  59. Ylonne Stevenson on June 13, 2023 at 3:21 pm

    I did not know Mr. Ranniger personally but surely did eat and love his food. I am saddened by his loss. May God grant extra rations of comfort and blessings to his family.
    Dukes (all locations) has been my favorite restaurant for years; ever since the first time I tasted the chowder. I even made made it at home from the recipe card you used to give out. I have the book ‘As WILD As It Gets’ . It is a work of culinary art. We got several meal kits during the pandemic. What a treat.
    Bill, I hope you do not have to cook in Heaven, but if you do, God will be very pleased.

  60. BEATRIZ on June 13, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Duke’s wouldn’t be the Seattle icon it is without folks like Bill and the staff. He set the bar high for decades to come. My sincere condolences to the Duke’s family.

  61. Bonnie Brayden on June 13, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    My husband and I got the Dukes meal kits every week and sent pictures to Bill of the “presentation” – one Christmas we included his “stocking” hung by the fireplace with care ❤️
    Bill was an amazingly personable man and will be greatly missed

  62. Myron & Sharon on June 13, 2023 at 2:08 pm

    My wife and I absolutely love Dukes. We go to Dukes on the waterfront in Tacoma all the time. To the employees at Dukes, we are so sorry for your loss of this fine man. God bless you guys and God bless his family.

  63. Phil Hamm on June 13, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    My wife and I frequently attended the 6-course wine/beer/Belvedere vodka (and one halibut-featured) special dinners. Besides meeting the vintners/brewers, the highlight would be Bill’s arrival from the kitchen describing each course and the pairing. While he spoke eloquently, he would also lead SEVERAL toasts throughout the evening, “Hello my name is Bill, cheers!” So here’s a toast to you Bill—cheers!

  64. Karen Beck on June 13, 2023 at 1:56 pm

    My friends and I met Bill a few times in the Bar while we were having lunch at Dukes on Green Lake. He was always very friendly and sweet. So sorry for your loss!

  65. Eddie Goins on June 13, 2023 at 1:53 pm

    Well, if Duke’s is our favorite restaurant, then Bill has to be our favorite chef! We started enjoying Bill’s cuisines in the Tacoma restaurant right after it opened in 2006 or 2007? My son told me (he worked for Duke’s) that the staff knew when we were there because of all of the red (modifications) on the tickets that printed in the kitchen. Too many meals to count but all were outstanding! A highlight that sticks out for us was on our 30th wedding anniversary. Somehow we were able to get Shannon (then GM) to cater an event at our home. We had all of our favorite Duke’s fixings. And, to our surprise, we had the honor of Bill’s presence to ensure that the day went off without a hitch. What a gentleman. We were so appreciative and honored to have the Executive Chef of Duke’s at our home overseeing the prep and execution of our event. Needless to say, our 150 or so guests were appreciative as well as the food and service exceeded expectations. We’ll be reminded of Bill each and every time we dine at Dukes. Our best to the Duke’s team and Bill’s family.

  66. Laura Dean on June 13, 2023 at 1:51 pm

    We attended all the wine & spirits dinners and will never forget Bill’s infectious spirit, sense of humor, and the obvious joy of what he was doing. Our hearts are heavy and he will be missed. Condolences to his family & Dukes.

    Alan & Laura

  67. Cathy Messenger on June 13, 2023 at 1:51 pm

    So sorry to read this … I only met Bill once while I was dining at the Southcenter Duke’s back in 2016.
    I had just bought Duke’s cookbook when I ran into him and had a short chat about that. He was very gracious and left such a nice impression.
    I know he was an intricate part of the Duke’s team and his contribution was huge. My prayers go out to his family and all of the people at Duke’s who loved him. RIP Bill!

  68. Sue D. on June 13, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    We have always considered the Greenlake Dukes our favorite. We also loved the meal kits! Bill would put notes on my boxes and treats inside. What a loss. He was such a kind and generous man. Heartfelt thoughts and hugs to his family.

  69. Martin Palecek on June 13, 2023 at 1:45 pm

    I did not know the amazing Bill personally but have always loved his dishes and the atmosphere at all Dukes. My wife and I along with our friends will greatly miss you Bill, much love to all.

  70. Naomi Elam on June 13, 2023 at 1:37 pm

    When I picked up our meal kits during Covid (a 2-hour round trip), there was always a note from Bill which was obviously based on our situation. That was very appreciated as was the terrific meal kit.

  71. Jim and Christine Alkire on June 13, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    CHEERS Bill.

  72. Mary Ann H on June 13, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    I got to meet Bill a couple of times. The one I remember most was at a Mercer Wine dinner on Lake Union. The food pairings he prepared with the wine choices were impeccable! What a talented man. So sorry he left us so young. Rest in peace Chef Bill!

  73. Michael Markette on June 13, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    My life is better because Bill was part of it. I find so much happiness recalling the times we spent together. All the best to the family. Bill was a great man.

  74. Dorie Nussbaum on June 13, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    Too young very sorry to hear Bill passed

  75. Gayle on June 13, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    Love to his family and friends.

  76. Maggie on June 13, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    The gift of masterful food is unmeasurable! ❤️

  77. Bill W on June 13, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    I received some of those personal notes (and a few extra treats in my box) from Bill in my meal kits. He even popped out of the kitchen a couple of times in Bellevue to greet me when I picked up my order. He appreciated that I posted positive reviews to Facebook (how could I not, everything was so easy and delicious?). I felt very appreciated. We are very sad to read of his passing.

  78. Jeffrey L. Utter on June 13, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    I was a regular at Duke’s Lake Union and Green Lake maybe 14 years ago. My daughter and I loved the Dangerous Killer Prawns. When they disappeared from the menu, I asked him online about it as we were planning to be in Seattle. He said, “Just ask them for it. Almost all of the guys have been there for years.”

    Sure enough, we sat at the bar in Lake Union and told the story. We got the dish!

    Also, my daughter’s wedding party celebration in 2010 was wildly celebrated there with people from as far away as San Diego and Chicago.

    My heart is breaking . . .

  79. Bryan on June 13, 2023 at 12:52 pm

    Derek Pierson at Duke’s Alki took care of my mom when she was 6 weeks at Swedish after a ruptured aneurysm in her brain, holding her new cookbook with Duke’s autograph until she was well enough to come get it (well, well enough to sit in the car while I got it and told him her miraculous story). They prepped an order to go for her first non-hospital meal “out” in months. And treated us to lunch when she was FINALLY able to enjoy a meal at her favorite place, in person. I cried watching her take the simple steps of going out, reading the menu, placing her order, loving her food.

    A family like that losing someone like Bill…it must be heartbreaking. But I have no doubt the care and love from all the Duke’s family, customers and staff, will pay that love forward for decades. I know it because I try to do the same for others after Derek took care of us so kindly, so effortlessly. In that way Bill will always be around.

  80. Cheryl Nelson on June 13, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    Yes, I remember him. He gave me a recipe of a delicious meal we had during fall season. Also, we frequented the Green Lake location where he was chef. You could tell the difference because he was simply the best! The best at making crab & bourbon chowder too. My sincerest condolences to his family. God bless & Godspeed.

  81. Adonis El-Mohtar on June 13, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    Rest in Love and Gastronomical Heavenly Delights.
    Thank you for all the “mmmmmms” and “ This is sooo good, you gotta try it” dishes, and conversations.

    Adonis El-Mohtar

  82. Dean Paquette on June 13, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    My wife and my family and I have enjoyed going to Duke‘s for many years. This was a great memorial to Bill! My thoughts and prayers go to his family, and his Duke’s family as well!

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