The Washington State Patrol’s fifth member to lose his life in the line of duty was Highway Patrolman William Herman Pautzke. Patrolman Pautzke was driving through Burien while assisting with a homicide investigation when his motorcycle collided with another vehicle on May 7, 1930. He died the following day.

An avid fisherman and outdoorsman, Patrolman Pautzke was the youngest of four siblings growing up in Auburn and Alaska. He and his wife had celebrated their first anniversary shortly before his death. The four year veteran of the Patrol left behind many friends and colleagues who appreciated his service and mourned his loss. We remember…   


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 when his motorcycle ran into the side of a gravel truck that was turning onto Hudson Street. 

Patrolman Pautzke died the following day, May 8, 1930, at the age of 28 having served four years with the Washington State Highway Patrol.

In May of 1998, Patrolman Pautzke was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by the Law Enforcement – Medal of Honor Committee.

The Washington State Patrol holds the memory of Patrolman Pautzke close to our hearts as we do each of the 31 men and women who have died in the line of duty during our 100 years of service to the State of Washington. Patrolman Pautzke was the quintessential north-westerner. A husband, brother, and son, he was also a friend to the outdoors and the fellow patrolmen with whom he so honorably served. We remember…

Washington State Highway Patrolman William Herman Pautzke
End of Watch – May 8, 1930
Gone But Never Forgotten