Sept. 29, 1928 — March 16, 2014
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William “Bill” Henry Stollmeyer, 85, passed away at home peacefully of natural causes on March 16, 2014, in Apple Valley, Calif. Bill was born to Henry “Hank” and Doris E. Melvin Stollmeyer on Sept. 29, 1928, in Burbank, Calif. He was the brother to two younger sisters, Betty Jane and Lauretta Lee. As a teenager, he enjoyed taking classes in architecture, riding horses, taking violin lessons and working on his car. When not in school, he worked at a grocery store, which may have inspired his entrepreneurial spirit.
In 1946, Bill graduated from Burbank High and joined the U.S. Navy. He served four years during the Korean War. After being stationed in San Diego, he was transferred to Pensacola, Fla. Before transferring, former high school friends Jim and Eleanor introduced him to Betty Alice St. Clair. Soon after, Bill and Betty were married on Nov. 6, 1949, in Pensacola. Two years later they welcomed their first daughter, Christine.
For three years, Bill was stationed at Pensacola at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Saufley Field. He was an Aviation Machinist’s Mate and in charge of having the planes ready each morning for takeoff. He was assigned to the USS Valley Forge. He was honorably discharged in July 1952. Happily, Bill, Betty and Christine returned to their native state of California and settled in Granada Hills, where their second daughter, Pamela, was born. Here, Bill enjoyed working for his uncle Neil at his lighting fixture business in Van Nuys, Calif.
Eventually, the family moved to Pleasant Valley, where Bill and Betty established a grocery store, Bill’s Ranch Market, which they ran for eight years working seven days a week. He was also interested in building homes and built seven houses around the Pleasant Valley/Placerville area. When building, he was known to hand select each board for his projects. When friends or family members needed house plans, ideas for remodeling, or help with the building of their home or vacation home, he was always happy to share his ideas, expertise or elbow grease.
Bill and Betty resided in the Placerville area until 1970, when they sold the grocery store and moved to Oak Harbor, Wash., where they reconnected with a former Navy buddy/family (Ed and Jeanne), but returned to California the following year. In the mid ’90s, they again moved from California to Apache Junction, Ariz. In Arizona, they enjoyed forming numerous new friendships while maintaining the old. Through the years they enjoyed traveling to California and Utah visiting their daughters, four grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, trips to Hawaii and a memorable Panama Canal cruise with long time friends Eva and Campbell.
Bill was a member of the Apple Valley American Legion and the American Legion in Placerville. His achievements were many but perhaps his biggest disappointment was when Betty, his wife of nearly 50 years, suddenly passed away from an aneurism in 1999. Five years later, Bill remarried Roberta Eaton, a California native, on July 10, 2003, in Laughlin, Nev. Subsequently, the couple returned to California and settled in Apple Valley, where Bill passed away.
Bill is survived by his wife, Roberta; his daughters, Christine (Ed) Stetler and Pamela Denicke; stepchildren, Eugene (Pam) Eaton and Ginny (Dan) Campa; three grandchildren, Heather Stetler, Christa Denicke Lindhardt and Brandon Denicke; three California great-grandchildren, Joe, Josie and Talon; four Utah great-grandchildren, Ethan, Avery, Kimberlee and Krew; sisters, Betty Jane (Jim) St. Clair and Lauretta (Perry) DeWeese; nephews, Brad and Carey St. Clair and Scott DeWeese; niece, Jerilyn DeWeese; a favorite Uncle, Dick (Leora) Melvin; and many beloved cousins. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Alice; his parents; eldest grandchild, Shannon Stetler; great-granddaughter, Hope Stetler; and a brother-in-law, Perry DeWeese, who Bill loved like a brother.
Ever proud of being a U.S. Navy veteran and honoring Bill’s wishes, a memorial is scheduled on Monday, April 7, at Riverside National Cemetery, at 12:45 p.m. The Apple Valley American Legion will officiate. Arrangements are being handled by High Desert Funeral Chapel. Interment is at Riverside National Cemetery. Bill will be remembered for many reasons, but primarily for possessing a strong work ethic.