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Santa Barbara News-Press : GREEN, William J.


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GREEN, William J.

April 14, 2013 1:07 AM

Our dear Bill passed April 5, 2013, at home with his family. He somehow managed to turn 90 after decades of marginal health?and he did it with grace and a great attitude. We're forever indebted to Dr. Jeff Kupperman for compassionately extending his stay.

Bill loved and admired his parents, and remained close to his many siblings in Seattle. His devoted sister, Rosemary Murphy, survives him. He was an entertaining uncle to her kids, always willing to detach and reattach his thumb upon request. Other nieces and a nephew were less gullible, but they liked him, too.

Bill served in the infantry in the Pacific during WWII. He always attributed his improbable survival to the fervent prayers of his mother and sisters. He was in the first wave at Leyte in 1944 and at Okinawa in 1945. As quiet as he was about the recognition he received individually, he allowed himself pride in the Presidential Unit Citation, awarded in 2001 to the entire 96th Infantry Division (the "Deadeyes") for their extraordinary heroism on Okinawa. He wouldn't tell you...but we will...that during his service in the Pacific, he was awarded two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts.

Bill worked as a carpenter in the Seattle area, most notably on two homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. A few weeks after a visit to Santa Barbara in 1964, he skillfully packed the family into a 1959 VW Bug and relocated here for good. He walked into a sales opportunity and years later owned Backman Building Specialties. He was part of a core group of distributors who significantly contributed to the success of Trus Joist Corporation. Bill shared the relative success of his small business with a valued employee and generously provided his kids with opportunities?whether they deserved them or not. He freely gave to others, always mindful of his own blessings.

He is survived by his wife and best friend, Betsy; by his daughter, Barbara Jo Green (of Seattle); and by his son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Lindsey Green (of Goleta).

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice. At Bill's request, there will be no service or formal memorial. His ashes will eventually find their way to various meaningful places. We promise, Bill, that they will all be on dry land.


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