William “Willy” Legate, a resident of Sequim, died of an apparent heart attack on November 9, 2014 near his home. Legate was born in Pitman, Arkansas, a town so small it no longer exists, the first-born son of Chester and Edna Legate, on February 22, 1939.
The family joined the WWII exodus to the West Coast, eventually settling in Southern California.
Willy attended the University of Redlands, and while in college grew interested in the newest example of the bohemian intellectual tradition, the Beat Generation. Eventually he moved to Palo Alto, California, to pursue these interests.
In Palo Alto he took up residence at the Peace House, a center for the study of non-violence led by Ira Sandperl, mentor to many San Francisco Bay Area peace activists, including Joan Baez.
While at the Peace House, Willy became a close friend of two young beatniks, Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, who would later became famous as the lead guitarist and lyricist for the Grateful Dead.
For the next thirty years, Legate would continue to be associated with the increasingly successful musical group, a band which would eventually become a worldwide cultural phenomenon.
Among his contributions to the band was his coining of the popular bumper-sticker phrase “There Is Nothing Like a Grateful Dead Concert,” seen on legions of VW buses for the past 40 years.
He contributed writing to many Grateful Dead newsletters, and in later years served as the supervisor of their rehearsal hall and recording studio, Front Street.
In the 1990s he adopted his daughter, Margarita Moselle, and moved to Sequim.
He is survived by his daughter; his younger brother John Legate, of San Ramon, California; and his nephews Jason (Walnut Creek, California), and Todd (San Mateo, California).
A celebration of his life is planned for November 30, 2014 in Mill Valley, California.