The Most Unique Human Being
by Bud Bottoms
I have lots of memories of Bill. He was the most unique human being I have ever met.
After WWll, many GIs converged on the UCSB Riviera campus. That’s when I met Bill.
Several of us were hunters, divers, and fishermen. Our lives depended on wild game to feed our families. Bill was the best, especially at lobster diving and hunting wild pigs.
Once, he agreed to lead several top athletes on a hunt into the backcountry, but no one could keep up with him and his dogs, and he went on alone. For that reason he was a loner as a hunter and diver. When hunting wild pigs, he eventually stopped using a rifle or spear and depended on his dogs to hold a pig until he could use only his knife. He seemed super-human — hiking for hours or days in the backcountry and hauling out his meat. Bill never wasted anything. He was a great butcher and used every part of the game.
As I recall, Bill would trade meat or fish for other services like dentistry or car repairs. He was a great story teller and shared them with his writing students at Adult Ed. For as long as I knew him, he was writing a book about his experiences during WWll, but wrote he several short stories about his hunting and diving adventures. His favorite writing teacher and author was local early environmentalist Bob Easton.
As a Renaissance man, Bill was a dedicated ballet dancer and performed locally at the Lobero and other places. He was also a skilled boxer with fast and ballet-like moves. In the early ’40s, Bobby Hyde gave acres of land on Mountain Drive to ex-GIs who would build a house there. With the help of friends, Bill built his house there.
I was fortunate to have known this super-man who demonstrated to all the many talents and contrasts in his life: supreme hunter and diver, boxer, ballet dancer, dedicated writer, survivor, and prevailer.