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William R. (Bill) Green

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William R. (Bill) Green Obituary

William R. Green was born in Eureka, CA, on May 17, 1924, and died on May 15, 2014. He was preceded in death by his wife Mary, and survived by son Tom and wife Debby Seid; son Theodore and wife Adele Parker; daughter Carolyn Kuhn, grandchildren Shoshana, Ya'el, and Ilan Seid-Green, and sister Claire Lampson of Geyserville, CA.

Bill started school in Sacramento at Marshall School. The family moved to Marysville in 1933 where he graduated from elementary and high school, then completed one year at Yuba College before being drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1943. He was a member of a B-29 squadron and served in China, India, and Tinian. After discharge, he attended U.C. Berkeley, where he met Mary Hewlett of Oakland; majored in civil engineering, where he was elected to the national honorary engineering societies of Chi Epsilon and Tau Beta Pi, and graduated in 1949. He and his old friend and college roommate, Bob Boies, were the co-founders of the extremely exclusive (2 members) fraternity Sigma Omicron Beta (members known as SOB's) Bill and Mary were married in 1951.

He then went to work for the then Division of Highways, where he had spent summer vacations working, starting on graduation from high school in 1941. Construction projects he worked on during those summers were the widening of U.S. 40 from two to four lanes from the Yolo causeway to the Solano County line, bypassing the city of Davis; the north access road to Camp Beale; and the moving of U.S. 99E in Marysville from D Street to E and 10th and crossing the new 10th Street bridge into Yuba City.

After college graduation, he worked on the 4-laning of U.S. 40 from Auburn to Applegate, then transferred to the Design department where he was in charge of the preliminary design of the Grass Valley-Nevada City freeway, and final design of the Arbuckle freeway on U.S. 99W (now I-5). He then returned to construction where he was Resident Engineer in charge of the 4-laning of Stockton Boulevard from 14th Avenue to Mack Road (then U.S. 99), the Arbuckle freeway, and the I-80 freeway from Donner Lake through Truckee to Boca.

His next assignment was in charge of construction projects in Alpine, Amador, and San Joaquin counties, followed by promotion to Sacramento headquarters in 1963. Following several headquarter assignments, he was appointed Chief Planning and Design engineer for Caltrans in 1969 with the responsibility for the planning and design of all state highway projects. During this time, Caltrans was developing the design of noise walls and the policies for placing them. As a result of this and other environmental policies, Green was recognized as Design Engineer of the year by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 1974. In 1978, he was asked to chair a national AASHTO task force on noise attenuation standards, which resulted in an AASHTO publication on this subject.

In 1979, Bill was selected to attend a 3 week course in transit at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, followed by three weeks touring transit systems in London, Hamburg, and Brussels. Under his direction, the first manual of design standards for rail transit was developed and adopted by Caltrans.

After 10 years as Planning and Design Engineer, Green spent three years as Chief Office Engineer, and in 1983, he was appointed District Director of District 3 to succeed Leo Trombatore, who had been appointed Director of Caltrans. After four years as District Director of the district where he had started his career as an engineering aid in 1941, he retired in 1987. Bill's career with Caltrans overlapped his father's, who was among the first employees hired by the new Division of Highways in 1912.

After retirement, Bill and Mary traveled extensively, particularly an annual trip to the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, enjoying their family and watching their grandchildren grow up. He took up golf, but never reached his goal of playing "bogey" golf. The annual family get-together in Sierra City, where Bill's mother was born, was always a highlight of the year. Interment will be in the Sierra City Cemetery, joining Mary there who died in 2008. Remembrances may be made to Melanoma Research Foundation


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Published in Appeal Democrat from May 31 to June 1, 2014
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