CHIDLAW, William 'Bill'
Bill passed away on December 7, 2013 due to complications from Lewy Body Dementia at the age of 86.
Bill was born in Fresno and moved to Chowchilla as a young boy where he met Betty Duncan, the love of his life. Bill enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday and served in the South Pacific. After completing his military service, Bill returned to Chowchilla and married his high school sweetheart, Betty, in 1947. Bill insisted the wedding occur after he turned 20 because he didn't want to be a teenage groom.
After working and saving enough money for college, Bill attended Fresno State and subsequently attended UC Berkeley Boalt Hall, where he obtained his law degree in 1954. Bill and Betty moved to Sacramento in 1955 after Bill accepted a position as Deputy Attorney General. Bill and Betty started their family in 1957 with son Dave and welcomed Keith in 1959.
Bill worked as a Deputy Attorney General for 10 years before striking out on his own in private practice. Bill was the lead attorney in two landmark court decisions, one involving The Public Trust Doctrine in California, and another involving Fair Trade Liquor Laws before the U.S. Supreme Court. Bill's passion for the law was handed down to his sons, who both became attorneys.
Even though Bill had an incredible work ethic, he understood the balance between work and play. Bill always found time to play handball at the Elk's Club, followed by a steak sandwich at The Broiler. He also enjoyed Sunday evening dinners at Club Pheasant. Bill was an avid hunter and fisherman and often brought his latest catch to Frank Fat's and Hong King Lum restaurants to be enjoyed with family and friends.
Bill and Betty fulfilled their dream of building a cabin in Graeagle. After retirement, when they were not cruising the world, they spent time in the mountains golfing and dining. Watching his grandchildren play sports was one of Bill's passions. Bill and Betty were infamous for cheering from the sidelines with their folding chairs and sunhats.
Bill was happiest when holding court at the dinner table with family and friends, captivating the 'jury' with his stories. Bill often stated, 'every story could be improved with a little embellishment.' In retirement, Bill devoted his time to his church, Fremont Presbyterian, where he served as Usher, Deacon, and Elder. He also stayed active by volunteering at Loaves and Fishes, where he enjoyed flipping pancakes.
Bill had a strong moral compass and lived his life with honesty, integrity, and civility. Bill gave his family a name to be proud of. His love for and devotion to Betty has been inspirational. We will honor him by carrying on his name and upholding these values.
Bill is survived by his adoring wife Betty, son Keith (Diane), son Dave (Mariam), and grandchildren Kendall, Brooke, Thomas, Rachel, and Daniel.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Dec. 22, 2013