William Ronald “Bill” George passed away peacefully Wednesday evening, June 19, 2019 with his family by his side. He succumbed to respiratory failure after a brief hospitalization at Watsonville Community Hospital.
Bill was born August 13, 1930 the second son of Frank and Lena George. His brother, Robert and parents preceded him in death. The family lived in the Casserly District of Watsonville, and Bill went to Casserly School through 8th grade, and graduated from Watsonville High in 1948. He was an ASP (alpha sigma pi) member through 2004, serving as treasurer for 10 years. He also played football in high school, and remained a 49er Faithful his entire life. Many happy times were spent at Candlestick Park with his son, Steve or wife, Wilma where he had season tickets from 1971 until the stadium closed in 2013.
Bill met his wife Wilma Baker while they were working at the National Ice and Cold Storage Company in Watsonville. They were married October 14, 1951, and shortly after he was deployed to Korea after training for Motor Transport at the Marine Corps Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. While in Korea he was advanced to Sergeant receiving the Korean Service Medal with two battle stars; the UN Service Medal; and the National Service Medal and Ribbon. He served in Korea from May 1952 – May 1953. Bill and Wilma wrote to each other every day while he was gone.
Upon returning the couple settled in Watsonville and began raising a family. He went to work as a welder for W. L. Jefsen Blacksmith shop until joining the Prudential Insurance Company in 1957 where he worked until retirement 30 years later. In 1965 Bill and his family moved to Los Gatos where he worked in the San Jose Prudential office making many life-long friends. An excellent salesman, Bill attended and frequently spoke at business conferences all over the US, Canada and Mexico. Wilma, and often their three children would accompany him on these trips, which would turn into family vacations - Hawaii being a favorite.
In 1974 Bill transferred back to Watsonville and opened his own office on East Lake Avenue. The family settled on 6 acres in Corralitos along with horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens, and he continued to farm apples with his father in addition to his insurance business, and real estate developments.
Bill was the Horse Show Manager at the Santa Cruz County Fair for 8 years. In 1986 he was appointed by the governor to the Fair Board of Directors where he served for 8 years, 2 as president. He continued volunteering at the fair as Department Head of the Information Booth for over 10 years, and as Chief Financial Officer of the Heritage Foundation for 5 years. Additionally, Bill served as an officer of the Elks Club, as chairman of the Pajaro Valley Cemetery District Board of Directors, and belonged to the Pajaro Valley Historical Society, the Corralitos Padres, and Friends of the Watsonville Animal Shelter.
Bill was an avid stamp collector for over 70 years, raised award-winning tuberous begonias, and restored several cars and trucks after retiring in 1990. His greatest restoration project being a 1939 4-Door Convertible Ford that started as a pile of rust, and 7 years later was transformed into an award winning street rod.
Many of Bill and Wilma’s happiest times have been entertaining family and friends around the pool at their home in Corralitos.
Bill is survived by Wilma, his wife of 67 years; daughter LouAnna Phillips of Arcata, son Steve George of Corralitos, daughter Shannon and husband John Henderson of Aptos. Graveside services will be held Friday, July 12 at 1PM at Pajaro Valley Memorial Park, 127 Hecker Pass Road, Watsonville.
In lieu of flowers, donations will gratefully be accepted in Bill’s honor at FOWAS Spay/Neuter Clinic, PO Box 1438, Freedom, CA 95019. Mehl’s Colonial Chapel was entrusted with the arrangements.