July 25, 1921 – January 1, 2016
Resident of Palo Alto
Died of natural causes on January 1, 2016 at the age of 94. Bill had a long and productive life. He was born in Red Banks, NJ on July 25, 1921 to Rocco and Carmela Ambrosio. Amidst the heart of the Great Depression, he and his family relocated to Long Beach, CA. It was there that Bill would make some of his fondest memories. However, world events would soon move him far from his childhood home. World War II was already raging elsewhere and very soon his life would become intertwined with it. While attending Long Beach Community College, Bill volunteered to join a flight program offered by the Navy. From there he went to Corpus Christi, TX for flight training to become a Naval Aviator and earned his Gold Wings in 1942. Ordered to Norfolk, VA, he joined a new Fighter Squadron VGF-27 on board the Suwanee for the invasion of North Africa (Operation Torch). Soon after, he was on his way to the Pacific, the theater of his finest military achievements. While aboard the Bunker Hill, he took part in raids on Japanese positions at Rabaul, Tarawa, Nauru, Kavieng, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Truk, and the Marianas. Bill was credited with shooting down three enemy aircraft as well as sinking a destroyer escort. Before the end of the war, he was stationed at NAS Alameda where he had met and later married Anita Warren. In his career he moved to numerous duty stations around the world, finally ending his naval career at NAS Moffett Field where he was executive officer of VR-7. As a Commander, in 1967 Bill retired from the Navy and remained in Palo Alto, CA.
He was a life member of the Tailhook Association and continued flying privately after his Navy days. Bill enjoyed playing tennis, skiing at Tahoe, and swimming. He looked forward to his weekly lunches with past Squadron-mates where they would reminisce of bygone days and past adventures–it was aptly named “The Liars Club.”
As a testament to his intelligence and perseverance, his life after retiring from the Navy would be as successful as his military career. He became a commercial real estate broker and remained at that position, working into his early 90s. Bill will always be remembered for his good humor, fairness, and generosity. Moreover, he exemplified the qualities of the greatest generation. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Anita, his four children; William (Pamela Tryon), Andrea (Kenneth Nordin), Alisa (Gad Meir), and Angela (Karl Duffy), and his grandchildren; Christopher, Alexandra, Vincent, Anthony, Gabrielle, Sofia, and Isabela.
An evening vigil and rosary will be held at 7pm on Thursday, January 7, 2016 at Spangler Mortuary 399 South San Antonio Rd. Los Altos, CA 94022. A Mass will be held on Friday, January 8, 2016 at St. Thomas Aquinas at 751 Waverley St. Palo Alto, CA 94301. Internment at Heaven’s Gate Cemetery at 22555 Cristo Rey Drive Los Altos, CA 94024. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project or the would be appreciated. Please contact the funeral home for more information.
399 South San Antonio Rd.
Los Altos, CA 94022