William Spangler

Date of Birth

August 21, 1923

Date of Death

October 4, 2019

Bill passed away October 4, 2019 at the age of 96. He had a great, long 96 years, beginning in Pittsburg, PA in August 1923. Born to C.P Spangler & Cora E. Stark, Bill and his brothers George & Robert were raised in the same house until they finished high school.
During high school, Bill met Thalia Jean (TJ) Harmany at church. They got better acquainted working together on the school newspaper. In his senior year, Bill was both the Editor in Chief of the newspaper and his Senior Class President.

After one year at the University of Michigan, Bill accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He distinguished himself as a leader of men; rising to the position of Commander of 9th Company.

On June 6, 1945, Bill was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. Three days later, on June 9, 1945, Bill and TJ got married. After a short and sweet honeymoon, Bill shipped off on the USS Astoria into the Pacific Theater of WW II. During his 30-year Naval career, Bill was involved in WW II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He earned his MS in Civil Engineering, and had many interesting duty assignments in Japan, Spain, Hawaii, and London, England. His final assignment was as Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Naval Forces – United Kingdom, and U.S. Naval Representative to NATO for Facilities Management.

Upon retiring from the Navy in 1975, Bill stayed in London and took a job with Bechtel as project manager of the construction of 3 oil platforms in the North Sea. The 9 years spent in London were Bill and TJ’s most fun years, full of travel and meeting interesting people (including having tea with Queen Elizabeth II). When TJ was diagnosed with cancer, Bill left Bechtel and moved to Santa Barbara in 1981.

After his beloved wife, TJ passed away in 1983, Bill threw himself into numerous civic and charitable activities. Over the next 30 years, the list of his activities included serving as the chief engineer on the installation of the Santa Barbara landmark Dolphin Fountain, serving as Moderator of the S.B. Congregational Church, serving as President of SCORE- S.B. chapter, member of the Cosmopolitan Club and many other groups and committees in Santa Barbara and at Valle Verde Retirement Community where he lived for the past 22 years.

Bill was generous and kind, a man of integrity and strong character. He was a role model for the admonition, “Do the right thing.” His real passions were family and travel. He loved his 3 sons and their families and extended families and enjoyed every occasion that he spent with them.

Bill married Vivian Moore in 1984, and they enjoyed family and travel together for the next 12 years, until Vivian passed away. Love came knocking yet again, and in 2001 Bill and Virginia “Gini” Sutton, a friend of 50 years, were married. Their honeymoon flight to Italy landed in Rome just hours after the terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9-11-2001. Gini’s love for family and travel matched Bill’s, so they spent most of the next 13 years pursuing their passions. Gini passed away on Christmas Day 2014.

“Grandpa Bill” out lived his two brothers, his three wives and two of his sons, Mark and Neal. He is, however, survived and greatly missed by his son, Reed Spangler and wife, Yvonne, daughter-in-law Mary Donnelly, granddaughters Holly Eubank, Christine Hoerning, and Mary Eileen Taylor, grandson, Eric Spangler, their spouses and his 9 great grandchildren, as well as the members of the Moore and Sutton families that Bill married into.

The family gives it’s sincere thanks to the caring staff of the Grove at Valle Verde for the love, patience, kindness and professional care given to Bill during the last years of his life, and gratitude to the staff of Assisted Hospice Care for their excellent care, as well.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Oct. 26 at 10:30 am at the Quail Lodge Lounge at Valle Verde, 930 Senda Verde, Santa Barbara, CA 93105. Bill will be buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington. D.C.
Donations in Bill’s memory may be made to Unity Shoppe of Santa Barbara, 1209 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.


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