William Charnley

Date of Birth

April 8, 1946

Date of Death

November 28, 2022

William Charnley passed away on November 28. Born in Pasadena on April 8, 1946, Bill had a typical California upbringing, Yorkdale Elementary, Benjamin Franklin High, and trips with friends to go surfing. He excelled at sports, especially baseball.

Upon graduating from UCSB with a degree in History, Bill married his sweetheart, Tulli. In 1969 he joined the Navy, serving on the USS Long Beach. Returning to Santa Barbara from his tour in Vietnam, Bill studied photography at Brooks, worked for the Gas Company and divorced. In 1975 he moved to Stowe, Vermont scything the ski slopes in summer and skiing in winter. Eventually, Santa Barbara called him back, where he worked as a carpenter and later as a painting contractor.

Bill liked a simple, ordered life: up early in the morning, exercise, breakfast, work, home to watch TV and read books. On weekends, he played basketball, made art, and spent time with friends.

The delight of his life was his succession of well-loved cats, Jack, Dieter, and Tommy. A skilled photographer, Bill snapped countless images of Tommy’s eccentric behavior, culminating in several books of the cat’s shenanigans.

One of Bill’s defining features was his sense of humor. It ran the gamut from The Three Stooges’ slapstick to the New Yorker’s erudite cartoons. For two decades, he assembled his favorite cartoons into books and gave them as Christmas gifts to select friends.

Bill was also a noted assemblage artist. His works were simple yet intricate and always decorative and playful. But it was photography that he really adored. He carried his camera at all times and had an exquisite ability to turn the ordinary into the remarkable. He considered life worth living if he could take and show his photographs.

Bill was intelligent, accomplished and highly aware of the needs of others. He combined logic with irreverence to succinctly sum up his world view. He was kind, generous and much loved by his many friends. He is greatly missed.


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