Ulrich W. “Bill” Gulje, Sr.

Date of Birth

January 26, 1934

Date of Death

February 4, 2014

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Known to all as “Bill”, Ulrich W. Gulje, Sr. passed away at Cottage hospital in his beloved Santa Barbara on February 4, 2014.

Born on January 26, 1934 in Jakarta, Indonesia, Bill’s life was one of accomplishment in the face of adversity from an extraordinarily early age. He and his family survived both the war, and the concentration camps of the Japanese occupation from March 1942 until after the end of World War II in 1945. A mere child through that tumultuous period of history, he learned to both lean on his family and foster a sense of independence during that era, as they made their way across the newly independent country through hostile territory, ultimately cementing in a survival mindset that he carried throughout his life. The remaining family relocated to the Netherlands after The War, and eventually Bill and his sister Hanny emigrated to the United States in the 50s, where a lifetime of adventure took him from Massachusetts to Nevada and finally Santa Barbara, the town in which Bill would spend the majority of his life. His career path was as diverse as his personal journey, working in the fields of electrical engineering with EG&G to executive work with the ARC (now Alpha Resource Center) of Santa Barbara. He finished out his working career at the Santa Barbara airport for the Transportation Security Administration.

Bill was a raconteur who lived a life of passion, pouring that energy into his work, his wide array of hobbies and most importantly, his family. A man who loved to fish, Bill loved to tell the tales almost as much as he loved the chase. He was as passionate about soccer as he was his Dutch heritage, and if you entered his world, you’d soon know his opinion on just about any topic – whether you asked for it or not! His greatest love was for his family, and although scattered far and wide, each of us has a tale about our father that will leave you laughing and incredulous all at once.

Bill is survived by his two grandchildren, eight children (step or otherwise, all were family), a sister, a brother, and host of those whose lives were that much more humorously colored by having been in his sphere of influence. He was a bold and adventurous soul, complicated like none other, and beloved deeply by those who knew him best.

There will be a memorial service on Wednesday February 12th, 6:00pm at the legendary Harry’s Plaza Cafe in Santa Barbara where he could be found often over the last 45 years; we’ll raise a glass in his honor and toast the man one final time. His sons would love for you to join us, if possible.


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