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William (Bill) Gibbs Gwynne, Sr., recently of Maineville, Ohio, passed away on October 1, 2013 just two weeks shy of his 88th birthday. Bill, the youngest of three children, was born to Harold and Helen (both deceased) on October 15, 1925 in Norfolk, Virginia. In his youth as a Navy junior, he lived in many US coastal cities and in Shanghai, China but was most fond of the San Francisco Bay area. While in high school, he was evacuated from Honolulu to Berkeley when Pearl Harbor was attacked. As a high school senior, he joined his brother Hal (deceased) living in University of California's Chi Phi fraternity before he graduated from Alameda High School. His college education at Cal and his time in Chi Phi were interrupted when he served in WWII as a Navy radio operator. He graduated from Cal with a BA in International Relations. Bill was a proud and independent man who loved to travel, spending his early working years in Europe serving as a US State Department liaison on the Marshall Plan. During this time he met Ole Hagen and together they decided that they would start an importing business in San Francisco. For 45 years, Bill led Hagen International, a wholesale business that focused on fine Danish hardwood furniture at first but then ventured into textiles and furniture from other European countries, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Far East. Bill continued to enjoy his favorite sports - tennis and golf. He played tennis until he was 82 and golf until he was 86. After retiring in 1990, his main interest turned to his passion of painting. With his characteristic focus and determination he combined his love of travel and passion for painting to see the world and inspire his paintings. He participated in his last art show in early September 2013. He completed some 114 paintings from locations as diverse as France, China, the UK, South America, Japan, Northern and Central California and Southeast Asia. These paintings are on display at his website: http://www.wgwynneartist.com. Bill was always very active in the Presbyterian Church. He was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tiburon, California for over 55 years where he served as deacon and ruling elder. He became an elder at Grace Community Presbyterian Church after his relocation to Maineville. He was in the service of the Lord until the very end. Bill enjoyed spending time with his family and always looked for an opportunity to get people groaning at his puns. Bill is survived by his son William Jr. of Cincinnati, Ohio and daughter Holly (Jerry) DeMars of Loveland, Ohio, and his sister Elizabeth Smith of Menlo Park, California. He's also survived by his former spouse, Patricia Gwynne of Indian Springs, Ohio, nieces Bonnie, Gale and Mary and four step-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held in the Bay Area in 2014. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Bill Gwynne to Hospice of Cincinnati, Inc., P.O. Box 633597, Cincinnati, OH 45263-3597 (513-865-1616) or WCCS, Inc., 570 North St. Rte. 741, Lebanon, OH, 45036 Attn: Vel Hux Meals on Wheels (513-695-2206).
Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer on Oct. 6, 2013