William ‘Bill’ Gale Harper (1921-2013) died peacefully on November 25 in his care home at the age of 92 years. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends. Bill was born on July 20, 1921 in Missoula, Montana, the youngest of seven children.
He was raised in a log cabin near Republic, Wash. At the age of 19 Bill moved to California to work with his brother at the Santos family’s Shell station. In 1942 Bill married Wini Santos before enlisting in the army. While fighting in the South Seas during WWII, son Bill Jr. was born. After returning to Auburn, Calif. to recover from the war, Bill attended San Jose State University, graduating with a degree in accounting.
Bill and Wini lived and worked in Hayward, Calif. for 12 years before moving to Tonasket, Wash., where they built and ran a successful accounting business for 38 years before retiring.
One of Bill’s greatest joys was sharing the Washington backwoods with family and friends. He would take his grandsons and nephews to his childhood home in his 1942 Willies jeep and shared tales of his childhood. He especially enjoyed camping with his grandsons in the tree house he built for them in his backyard. Bill’s family has many fond memories of traveling with Bill and Wini to Minnesota, Hawaii, Arizona, and throughout Western Canada.
Bill’s wife, Wini, died tragically in a house fire in 2008 that left Bill badly burned. Bill returned to California to be closer to his son and daughter-in-law in Castro Valley. Although Bill never fully recovered from the loss of his dear wife, he found enjoyment walking the lovely grounds of Rossmoor, where he lived independently and attended jazz concerts with friends.
Bill is predeceased by his wife Wini and survived by his son Bill, daughter-in-law Mary, grandsons Kyle and Craig Harper and many nieces and nephews The family requests that Memorials be made to: Hospice of the East Bay 3470 Buskirk Ave., Pleasant Hill, CA 94523