William D. Cassady

Cassady, William D.

(1927 – 2021)

William Donald Cassady was born in Portland, Oregon on August 20, 1927, to Amelia Puustinen. Unknown to Cassady until late in his life, as an infant he was adopted by William and Nellie Cassady. Known as “Don” for most of his life, Cassady grew up in Vancouver, Washington. He attended Fort Vancouver High School and Clark Junior College before enrolling at Washington State University in Pullman. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering in 1952, Cassady enlisted in the U.S. Air force, rising to the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. Upon his discharge in 1953, he took a job for the architectural firm of Annand, Boone & Lei in Portland.

With practical experience at hand, and having passed his architectural licensing exam, Cassady opened his own independent architectural firm in Vancouver in 1959. Jobs quickly flooded his office. At its height, the office employed as many as 11 people. Early projects included the Fort Rains U.S. Forestry District Headquarters (1959, North Bonneville); a remodel of Leupke Florist (1959); the Department of Natural Resources District Office in Goldendale (1960); Clark College Alumni Chime Tower (1964); the Fort Vancouver Regional Library (1962); an expansion of the Columbian Newspaper headquarters (1965); and the Dr. Robert H. Bedrossian Ophthalmology Clinic (1966, Vancouver).

Cassady specialized in school construction and designed six Vancouver area schools. These included Martin Luther King Elementary School (1971, demolished, Vancouver); Peter S. Ogden Elementary School (1974); and Washington Elementary School (1966, demolished) which garnered him some attention as School-of-the-Month in a national school publication.

Later notable designs included the Skamania County Branch Library in Stevenson (1966); the MEDCO Clinic (1968, Vancouver); the Vancouver Housing Authority Columbia House Apartments (1975, with Chalmers Ekness); the Clark County PUD Operations Center (1976); and the Robert L. Harris Juvenile Justice Center (1978).

Cassady was active in the Southwest Washington Chapter of the AIA and served as chapter Treasurer (1964), Secretary (1965), and President (1967). He also served on the Washington State Council of Architects executive board.

He passed away in Vancouver on August 21, 2021 at the age of 94.

– Michael C. Houser

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