Badham, Willard E.
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October 21, 1923 - November 21, 2010
Willard E. Badham III ("Baddy") - father, husband, grandfather, headmaster, handball player and die-hard USC fan - passed away at his home in Encino on the morning of November 21, 2010. He was 87.
Bill was born in Los Angeles on October 21, 1923, the son of Willard and Helen Badham. He is survived by his wife, Roseanne Badham; his children, Cynthia Anne Laverty and James Willard Badham; three grandchildren: Kaitlyn Mae Laverty, Sachio Sampaio Badham and Bianca Sampaio Badham; and two step-children: Christina Roseanne Barren and James Lee Barren. He had two sisters, Jeanne Badham and Sally Badham, both deceased.
Bill Badham, known affectionately as "Baddy," touched thousands of lives during his 44 years at the prestigious Curtis School in Los Angeles. He began as a swim teacher and P.E. instructor in 1948 and spent nearly 30 years as the school's principal and headmaster before retiring in 1992. Along the way, he shaped the vision of the school as a place where children would develop both their minds and their bodies.
Baddy will be remembered by countless Curtis families, employees and friends for his humor, his outgoing personality, his passion, his charm and, particularly, his love for children and his unwavering commitment to them. He famously knew every Curtis student and parent by name and befriended every one of them. Nothing mattered more to him than the well-being and success of children. It was never too late for him to take a phone call at home from a concerned parent, and he was never too busy to help a child who had a problem or just needed a friend in his or her corner. His tools were humor, discipline, honest affection and genuine involvement. Thousands of children learned to ski on trips he led to the Sierras during winter and spring breaks; thousands more experienced the natural world for the first time at his summer camp in the Sierras; and many others attended his summer day camps in L.A.
Baddy attended Los Angeles High School and the University of Southern California, where he played baseball and earned a bachelor's degree in physical education. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and remained a passionate Trojan fan for life. At any moment, he might break out in the Trojan fight song while holding up a "V" for victory salute.
His university education was interrupted by World War II, when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific as a pharmacist's mate on the destroyer U.S.S. MacDonough. He remained a patriot throughout his life and took great pride in leading the flag salute at Curtis School every day.
Baddy began playing handball as a young man, and continued playing the game well into his 70s. He was a longtime member of the Los Angeles Athletic Club, playing handball there regularly with a group of lifelong friends and bringing home trophies from major tournaments in California and around the nation. He also surfed for decades, mostly at San Onofre beach near San Clemente, and played golf at any opportunity.
A public memorial will be held at the Curtis School campus at 15871 Mulholland Drive, LA, CA 90049 from 2-4 pm on Saturday, Dec. 4. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Willard E. Badham Faculty Enrichment fund at Curtis School.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Nov. 24 to Nov. 28, 2010