Patrolman William Pautzke
William Herman Pautzke was born on January 23, 1902, in Auburn, Washington to Charles Herman Pautzke and Anna Martha Ziebell. The youngest of four siblings, the Pautzke children attended Auburn schools, except when the family moved to Petersburg, Alaska for a two-year stint. While in Alaska, Pautzke became an accomplished outdoorsman and worked as a messenger boy.
After moving back to Washington State, Pautzke served as a volunteer firefighter, worked as an electrician, as a driver on the Seattle-Auburn State Line, and helped develop a fish egg bait formula, which is marketed to this day by the Pautzke Bait Company, based in Ellensburg.
Patrolman Pautzke was commissioned with the Washington State Highway Patrol on March 9, 1926, under the command of Chief William Cole, assigned to serve the Seattle area. He married Cecelia Ina Stone on February 16, 1929, in Kitsap County.
On May 7, 1930, Patrolman Pautzke was riding his motorcycle and responding to a request from the local sheriff's office to check on a clue involved in the Everett Frank Lindsey murder case. The suspect in the case was accused of killing his wife. Patrolman Pautzke was riding southbound on First Avenue in Burien on his way to Boulevard Park to assist in the investigation. His motorcycle ran into the side of a gravel truck that was turning onto Hudson Street.
Patrolman Pautzke died on May 8, 1930, at the age of 28, from injuries sustained after his motorcycle collided with a gravel truck in King County. At the time of his death, Trooper Pautzke had served four years with the Washington State Patrol.
Patrolman Pautzke's sister Lucretia had two granddaughters, Susan and Donna, and a grandson, Michael. Susan Blaker is retired from the Liquor Control Board, her sister Donna, lives in California, and Michael lives in Leavenworth. The owner of the Pautzke Bait Company is the cousin to Susan, Donna and Michael.
In May of 1998, Patrolman Pautzke was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on May 8, 1930, by the Law Enforcement – Medal of Honor Committee.
On May 20, 2016, a dedication ceremony of the memorial to honor and remember King County Troopers was held at the Bellevue District Office. When you visit the Bellevue District Office, take a moment to stop by the beautiful memorial that was created in remembrance of King County Troopers.