Herbert J. Billings
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January 23, 1921 - October 27, 2012
Resident of San Leandro
Herbert J. Billings passed on Sat., October 27, 2012, age 91, in the company of his daughter and son. He was married 61 years to Marie Fortier (deceased 2003); also predeceased by daughter Cecilia Lyles (2003) and grandson J Daniels (2005), but is survived by daughters Carolyn Abrams, Sacramento; Barbara Gessner, Fremont; Jeanne Bowman, Gresham, OR.; son-in-law Devron Lyles, Oakland; Catherine Billings, Moraga; and sons Matt Billings, (Sharon), Pleasanton; and Mark Billings (Yvonne), Antioch. Also survived by 14 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
Herbert was born, raised, and educated in New York, attending Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, and USNA Grad School before joining our fighting forces in World War II as a Lieutenant supervising ship construction and repair at the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and in Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone, preparing aircraft carriers for transit through the Canal. His wife Marie and daughter Carolyn joined him in Panama. They relocated to the Bay area in 1947, and remained ever since.
After working at Alameda and SF shipyards, he was hired by EBMUD in 1948 as a civil engineer in a temporary capacity. His "temporary" position lasted for 37 years. He retired as Manager of Engineering Services in 1985, while raising 7 children and remaining active in the community. His various volunteer efforts included designing a church and overseeing its raising, arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, serving on the Alameda County Grand Jury, the San Leandro Building Code Board of Appeals, Chair of ASCE SF Section Disaster Response Team (specializing in earthquake damage assessments), and tutoring for San Leandro Project Literacy from 1984 until recently.
His hobbies included photography, hiking, bicycling, and various travels (USA, Canada, South America, throughout Europe, Hong Kong, and Macau). He also established the Marie F. Billings Scholarship Trust for needy students at Assumption School, San Leandro, in 2008.
He created many fond memories for us: for one, he never shared his ice-cream from Fenton's but otherwise was very generous with his family and a variety of charitable organizations. He enjoyed his retirement and did everything on his bucket list. He enjoyed his many cars over the years and also used his 1980-vintage computer until it ceased working in 2010. Herbert Billings was a very quiet, fair, non-judgmental, and focused person and will be missed so much by all of us.
Visitation begins Sunday 11/04/2012 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. at Church of the Assumption 1100 Fulton Ave. San Leandro with the Vigil Service commencing at 2:30 P.M. The Funeral Liturgy celebrating his life will be on Monday at 10:30 A.M. also at the church. Interment Lone Tree Cemetery, Hayward.
Published in Inside Bay Area on Nov. 2, 2012