- Published on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 10:02
- Written by Los Altos Town Crier Staff
William Lee Woodard, a thirty-five year resident of Los Altos, passed away September 30th after bravely battling Mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer. He was 70 years old.
Bill was born October 27, 1942 in Casper Wyoming. He attended Natrona County High School and was a key member of the swim team, setting most of the state records for Freestyle and Butterfly.
At the age of eighteen Bill joined the United States Army. While stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany on the Army Air Force base, Bill was invited to join the Air Force swim team. He set records in almost every pool in Germany. An unidentified General spotted Bill during a competition and recommended him to try out for the Conseil International du Sport Militaire, which entailed a very prestigious competition along side Olympic caliber swimmers. The tryouts were held in Berlin. Bill qualified for the team with his achievements in the 400 Individual Medley.
The team went on to compete in Paris, as guests of the French government. They were given the key to the city, and when the event was completed, Bill placed fourth in the World. He was awarded a beautiful medal and trophy to bring back to the states.
Upon his return to Wyoming, Bill worked shoveling coal and driving a bulldozer to pay his way through college, where he achieved a 4.0 in Electronics.
In 1966 Bill moved to California and got a job at Fairchild during the new Semi Conductor technology revolution. This technology was key in enabling the space industry. It was here Bill met his wife Alice. In their early 20’s they were proud to be a part of this leading edge of technology. Bill went on to DCA where his team sold a program to NASA to manage all the high reliability parts for the Pioneer Venus Space Program. As program manager, Bill was invited to the VIP stand to witness the night launch in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
In 1976, Bill was invited to view the actual Pioneer Venus Encounter, in the VIP Room at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.
Bill continued his work in the Electronics Industry at IDT. He also enjoyed cruising and racing his Catalina Sailboat on the San Francisco Bay, as well as flying his 1980 Cesna T210 everywhere from Cabo San Lucas to his home state of Wyoming. After retiring he and his wife Alice enjoyed spending time at their home in Redding, on the Sacramento River. Bill’s other hobbies included golf and traveling.
Bill is survived by his wife Alice Wichman, her daughters, Christine and Shani Wichman, nephew Sean Mac Donald, and his two German Shepherd dogs, Frieda and Nick.
In lieu of flowers the family request a donation be made to German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California P.O. Box 1930 Cupertino, CA 95014.