October 20, 1934 – June 5, 2019 Bill Schatz passed away peacefully at home in Los Altos after a long battle with cancer. He was born in Youngstown, Ohio. The family moved a few months later to Indianapolis, Indiana where Bill was raised. He attended local schools, as well as Culver Military Academy during the summers. He graduated from Purdue University in Aeronautical Engineering and worked at Allison on jet engine development during college summers. At Purdue, Bill was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity as well as Tau Beta Pi, engineering honorary society. He also joined the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics where he remained a member for over 60 years. He married his college sweetheart, Mary Ann Kenady of South Bend, the summer after graduation.
The two set off for life's next adventure in California, via Route 66 from the midwest to Los Angeles, with all their belongings in a station wagon. Bill attended Cal Tech where he earned a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering in the Jet Propulsion option in 1957. He went to work for Rocketdyne in the San Fernando Valley. In 1960, Bill began working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he earned the NASA Exceptional Service Metal for “outstanding technical and managerial achievements in leading the propulsion, pyrotechnic and attitude control teams to a successful Mars orbital insertion and subsequent orbital adjustments of the two Viking spacecraft”. He worked on the Surveyor, soft lander to the moon and the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, Galileo missions to the outer planets. Meanwhile, Bill was very much down to earth with his family. Their two sons were raised in Tarzana, California. Bill was active with his sons in Indian Guides, Gray Y (YMCA sports program), and then Boy Scouts where he served as Scout Master in charge of weekend and week long hikes in the Sierra mountains. Bill also built many projects with his sons, which usually turned out larger and more involved than anything they dreamed of. Model airplanes, helicopters and boats were part of the mix, as well as a wind tunnel on the patio, huge kites which flew, and continual projects to keep boys busy and interested. Both sons became engineers and scientists who learned to explore and build with their father. Bill loved nature and took his family to many national parks in the US and Canada. The family also visited Europe on Photography Tours. In 1982, Bill accepted a job at Ford Aerospace in Palo Alto to work on propulsion systems for earth orbiting communication and weather satellites. Bill continued hiking, biking and gardening in this new area which soon became “home”. With no boys to support, Bill helped Mary Ann produce slide shows of their travels, and in recent years, discover details about their ancestors as they visited old home areas from Maine to Georgia to find records at court houses and libraries along the way. Bill especially enjoyed reading, jazz music, museum visits, and US & World History. His grandchildren and great grandchildren were a source of fun for him, too. Bill will be dearly missed by many including his wife of 62 years, Mary Ann, sons Bill (Margie) and Ken, grandchildren Jessica, Jason (Angie), James, Ben and Adam, and great grandson's Josiah and Sammy. The family would like to thank his special caregivers in recent weeks, Tina, Mark and Miriam. A Celebration of Bill's life was held on Friday, June 14 at the United Methodist Church in Los Altos. Reception followed. Donations in Bill's memory could be made to Los Altos United Methodist Church general fund for their new program with the Trinity Methodist Church of Mountain View for special community projects.