Bill was loving, kind, funny, curious, and had a wide-ranging knowledge of so many things, from classical music to the history of ancient Rome. He worked as an aerospace engineer, retired, then enjoyed a second career as a technical writer in Silicon Valley. Besides his family, his great passion was always writing. After many years of having short science fiction stories featured in Analog and Fantasy and Science Fiction his novel No One Goes There Now was published by Doubleday in 1971. He went on to write more than a dozen published works of science and historical fiction, and continued writing up to the time of his death. Bill was just putting the finishing touches on his last book, The Stockholder, which will be published posthumously. His tongue-in-cheek writing mantra, always posted somewhere near his typewriter and later computer, was “Eschew Obfuscation”.
Bill was born in Denver to Sophia and Herbert Walling. In the late 1920s he and his family ventured over the Rockies in a Model T to settle in the San Fernando Valley. An only child, Bill became best friends with two boys at school, Bill and John – they truly became his brothers when Bill Walling married John’s sister Judy, and friend Bill married another of John’s sisters, Mary.
After high school Bill entered the US Army Air Forces, not long before the end of WWII. He attended USC then UCLA on the GI Bill, graduating from UCLA – he was a lifelong Bruins football fan. One day at UCLA Bill ran into Judy, his friend John’s kid sister all grown up, and her sister Mary. Bill and Judy married in 1952, and raised their three daughters in the San Fernando Valley until Lockheed transferred him to the Bay Area in 1964. He soon became a diehard 49ers devotee, and loved taking his family on trips across California and the Western US in Farnsworth, his trusty classic 1966 red-and-white VW bus. One of his more interesting jobs at Lockheed was being part of a five-year secret assignment to raise and recover a Soviet sub that sank in the northwest Pacific.
Bill and Judy lived in Sunnyvale until Judy’s passing in 2011, when he moved to Santa Barbara to be near daughter Liz. As much as he missed Judy it was a good new chapter for him. He enjoyed living in his cottage home at the Samarkand and the many friends he made there. Sunday dinners with Liz, Victor, Vittorio and friends became a fine new tradition.
We will miss him and love him forever.