WILLIAM ROBERT “BILL” ARSENAULT
Bill was born in Oakland, California on June 29, 1927 to William J. Arsenault (also Bill) of Maine, and Christine Thiel Arsenault of Altamont, California. He grew up in the years of the great depression of the 1930s, living part-time at his grandfather’s ranch east of Livermore, California and going to school in a one-room schoolhouse. He looked back fondly to those years, and as a high school student worked in the hay fields of Altamont. The family eventually settled in Oakland, where Bill finished high school. His mother was always employed at Pacific Telephone Company and Bill grew up to be an independent young person. He enlisted in the Navy as WWII ended and spent just over a year in radio tech school where he became interested in going to college. He entered U.C. Berkeley in September 1945, studying physics and doing graduate work in electrical engineering. He was the first in his family to attend college and always a loyal Cal Bear! Bill and Joan met in October of 1946 and married during spring break as students in 1950.
Bill and Joan moved to Los Angeles in 1952, where Bill had his first job as an electrical engineer, working on a very early computer on the U.C.L.A campus while Joan finished school on that campus. In his Los Angeles years, he worked on various projects, most of them defense-oriented, in information technology and aerospace. He and Joan raised a family in Pacific Palisades, participated in YMCA and community affairs, and camped, backpacked and skied. In 1971, they purchased Paradise Creek Ranch in Elkton, and moved to the Ranch in 1976.
Bill took a job at Roseburg Forest Products as the engineer in charge of automating mill equipment. He loved the work and enjoyed seeing real products shipped out of the plants, a big improvement over producing paper work in the defense industry. At the same time, he became involved with the timber on the Ranch, studying forestry and becoming involved with statewide small woodland issues. He received many awards for his work in forestry. Bill also worked for the Elkton Charter School, Douglas Forest Protective Association, and ECEC, Elkton’s community center. He had a lifelong interest in trains and all kinds of music.
Bill leaves his wife Joan of Elkton; daughters, Janice Wimberly of Roseburg and Paula Arsenault of Washougal, Washington; son, Hugh Arsenault of Virginia; grandson, Evan Wimberly of Tacoma, Washington; and granddaughter, Shannon Arsenault of Virginia. He also leaves many great friends. He will be missed by all.