September 17, 1938 - July 10, 2019
Born in Cullman, Alabama
Resided in Salinas, California
Bill was born in Cullman, Alabama and was the firstborn and only son. The family moved to California when Bill was two years old. He was a proud Salinas High Cowboy, later a Hartnell Panther and graduated from San Jose State University.
Bill was a lifelong talented athlete in several sports, and also a dedicated cowboy of the land. He excelled as a champion sheep shearer in his youth. He was an All-American Junior College Center for Hartnell College; then received a scholarship to play football as a San Jose State Spartan in 1958.
After graduation, Bill served our country in the United States Marine Corp and was a fighter pilot flying F-8 Crusaders. Bill flew the jets off of the USS Forrestal stationed in the Mediterranean Sea. His love of aviation never faltered, and he flew in the inaugural California International Airshow, Salinas. Bill and Barbara spent many hours flying his baron always on an adventure.
Bill loved the Salinas Valley, and after leaving the military, returned to our valley where he became a financial investment advisor. He spent 53 years in the financial world building lifelong relationships with many trusted friends. Bill approached relationships with his clients with utmost integrity, always concerned about their personal financial growth and security.
Bill was a dedicated member of the Salinas Valley community, and was committed to supporting various organizations throughout the Valley. He was passionate about non-profit outreach and volunteered his time and talent to many vital community projects. He chaired the fundraising efforts for the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Parking Garage and directed and coached local boys baseball activities.
Most weekends you would find Bill “cigar and all “playing tennis or golf with his cronies at Corral de Tierra Country Club. Many moons ago, Bill and Gus Andersen held the title of Salinas City Doubles Champions, and he later reigned as Corral de Tierra’s doubles champion with Bob Chapman.
During Bill’s early career, he earned the respect of Gene and Ercia Harden, and they entrusted Bill with their financial planning and their lasting Salinas Valley legacy. Until his passing, Bill served as the Chairman of the Harden Ranch Foundation, sharing the Harden’s vision and Bill’s deep love and dedication for the Salinas Valley.
Every May, Bill would ride the hills of Santa Ynez Valley with his fellow Rancheros Visitadores. He cherished the traditional cowboy lifestyle mounted on his trusted friend, Smokey.
Bill is preceded in death by his sister Kathryn Berry. Bill has bid farewell to his loving wife and partner in crime, Barbie, Coco and Sweetpea, his sisters, Patricia Elliott, Sherry Anne Murphy (Tom Artellan), Constance Mazzei (Joe), and his numerous nieces and nephews.
We will be celebrating “Cowboy” Bill on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm at Corral de Tierra Country Club, 81 Corral de Tierra Road, Salinas, CA. 93908.
In lieu of flowers, gifts to honor Bill may be made to the Harden Foundation, Post Office Box 779, Salinas, CA 93902 or to the donor’s favorite charity.
Salinas, CA US 93908