1932 – 2016
Los Altos, CA
William J. "Bill" Almon passed away peacefully on Monday, June 13, 2016, with his family at his side, after a valiant struggle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Born in St. Louis, Missouri on November 22, 1932, he is the youngest son of the late Louise and Daniel Almon. Bill attended Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a 1954 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering at West Point and later pursued graduate studies at Georgetown University’s School of Economics.
West Point stoked his desire for competition as a member of the cross country and debate teams. On a debate team trip to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga he found his beloved Susan, the “Sweetheart of Sigma Chi,” whom he married in St. Louis in 1955. The two have been inseparable ever since, and celebrated their 61st anniversary this past June 11th.
Upon graduation from West Point he served as a Lieutenant in the US Army Signal Corps joining the 11th Airborne Division based in Ft Campbell, KY. He was posted in Augsburg, Germany and later transferred to the Infantry looking for more action and leadership, which he found.
With a growing family, he resigned his commission in 1958, returned to the States with Susan, and began a 30-year career with IBM. He joined the Federal Systems Division as a salesman and ultimately advanced to Vice President of Low End Storage Products, before retiring from IBM in 1987.
Never one to stand still, Bill ventured next to Conner Peripherals, Inc., a manufacturer of computer disk drives and storage management devices, where he managed the company’s explosive growth from 50 to 5,000 employees in record time. As Conner’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Bill led Conner to be the fastest growing company in American history (Fortune Magazine, 1990).
In 1994 his keen observation of low-end storage markets turned his strategic aim towards Nashua’s storage media business, culminating in a leveraged buyout to create his company StorMedia, which was followed by a successful IPO in 1995.
In further pursuit of technological advancements he co-founded Grandis Inc. in 2002, serving as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the pioneer in Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM), until it was purchased by Samsung.
He actively served on many boards including Sigma Designs, Read Rite, StorMedia, Finaline Technology, Netfish Technology, Rollbase, Ecrix, Exabyte, Recruitforce, InterNet Image and Futek Furnace Japan.
All along the way, Bill remained grateful to West Point and gave back to the Academy as a Class Officer, Association of Graduates Trustee, Major Giving Committee Chair and member of the Ulysses S. Grant Society, as well as donating a Remington painting to the West Point Museum.
His life-long commitment to Catholic education led to board positions and sustained fundraising for St. Francis High School in Mountain View, CA and Christian Brothers College in his hometown of St. Louis, MO.
Bill was an avid runner, gun enthusiast, automobile and western art collector. As a wildlife enthusiast he was inspired to activism and demonstrated a steadfast commitment to preserving and protecting the air quality, waterways and environment of his local community. He was also a devout parishioner of the Roman Catholic parish of St. Nicholas in Los Altos, California.
Bill was predeceased by his parents, brothers and sisters and will be greatly missed and forever remembered as a devoted husband to his wife, Susan; adoring father of his children: William Almon Jr. (Holly), Rosemary Martin (Larry), Jane Almon, Philip Almon (Lilli), and Patricia Cremer (Michael); treasured “GDaddy” of eleven grandchildren: Sara, Kathleen, William III, Evan, Emma, Zachary, Beth, Samuel, Stuart, Shepherd, and Sullivan; and caring great-grandfather of June, Helen, and James. As a beloved family man, mentor and leader he also leaves behind countless nieces, nephews and friends who feel blessed to know him.
His example of unwavering faith, devotion to family, and generosity to others will live on through us all.
Family and friends are invited to attend a visitation at Spangler’s Mortuary, 399 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos from 5:00-8:00pm and a Vigil at 6:00pm, both on Friday, June 24, 2016. A Requiem Mass will be celebrated at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, 473 Lincoln Avenue, Los Altos on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 11:00am, with a reception immediately following in the parish hall.
According to Bill’s wishes, the family is planning for a military burial and honor guard at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. The family also wishes to give a special thanks to the caring staff of the Cancer Center at El Camino Hospital.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill’s memory may be made to the following organizations:
The Cancer Center at El Camino Hospital, Mountain View
St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, Menlo Park