KOMO photojournalist Bill Strothman: 'A man of principle'

SEATTLE - Former longtime KOMO News photographer Bill Strothman, who was killed in the crash of the Air 4 news helicopter, was remembered Saturday at a memorial service as a gifted photojournalist and humanitarian who loved helping others.

"Bill saw helping others not as a duty but as a blessing," said KOMO News anchor Dan Lewis, one of many who shared their memories of Strothman during the service at First Lutheran Church of Bothell. "He taught me more about friendship, faith and integrity than any friend I've ever had."

Strothman and pilot Gary Pfitzner were both killed in the crash of the station's news helicopter near the Space Needle on the morning of March 18.

Strothman worked for many years at KOMO News and was well-known to many of the employees, earning 13 Emmy awards during his career.

After retiring from KOMO, he worked as a free-lancer and also as an employee of the helicopter leasing company that operates the KOMO News chopper.

Strothman's daughter Heidi said he always tried to find the human element in any story.

"Life without papa is going to be very difficult - before he left he armed us with the strength to make it through," she said.

Strothman was heavily involved in his church and community, and church members said he will be sorely missed.

And he was remembered by his KOMO co-workers as a compassionate journalist who looked for the human element in every story he was involved with.

"He was a friend, a mentor, teacher and one of the most gifted photographers I have ever worked with," remembered former KOMO reporter April Zepeda. "He was a man of principle and did not waver. ... He lived with purpose, grace and humility."

Dan Lewis summed up the feelings of many as he shared his memories of Strothman at Saturday's memorial service.

"One thing I can say on behalf of everyone (at KOMO) is that we loved and will miss Bill Strothman and we're happy to have had so many years to share with him."

He is survived by his wife Nora, his daughter Heidi, and his son Dan Strothman, who also is a KOMO News photojournalist.