Wilfrid Essex Jr.

Wilfrid Laurier Essex Jr. Wilfrid Laurier Essex, Jr. - Bill Essex - died at home in Visalia surrounded by his family on Friday February 28. He was 86 years old. Bill was preceded in death by his parents Wilfrid and Febronia Essex. He is survived by his brother Denis Essex (Shirley) and family, three children Dana Essex (Tom Nichols), Bill Essex, III (Ronda) and Susan Essex (Jeff Monical), and seven grandchildren Hannah Cruzen, Will Cruzen, Michael Essex, Trenton Essex, Lauren Essex, Wayne Monical, and Jackson Monical. Bill is also survived by Thelma Essex, the mother of his three children, close friend and health care navigator. Bill Essex was born in Los Angeles, California on March 31, 1928. He was a graduate of Los Angeles High School, University of Southern California and Fresno State. Bill was a veteran of the Korean War serving as master sargeant with the 115th Medical Battalion - 40th Infantry Division. Bill began his chemistry teaching career in 1954 at Roosevelt High School in Fresno. He joined the chemistry faculty at the College of Sequoias one year later. Many pre-med and pre-nursing students reported surviving the organic chemistry requirement because of Bill's teaching and support. Bill taught at COS until his retirement in 1985. Known for his avid curiosity and as a life-long learner, Bill enjoyed many avocations over the years. He was a marksman and gun collector since high school. Bill was a longtime member of the Visalia Sportsman Association and the National Rifle Association. Bill was a builder who completed a number of home renovations and built a duplex himself. He was drawn to many a unique project. Bill hand split shakes for a new roof for a Essex family home renovation after cutting the wood from a fallen redwood in Sequoia National Forest. In recent years, Bill designed and supervised the building of a family cabin near Mariposa where his family owned a ranch since 1950. Bill enjoyed a lifelong fascination with farming which dated to childhood visits to Essex family who farmed in Iowa. After grafting and growing projects with trees and vines, he built a large greenhouse to grow cucumbers and tomatoes for one season. He also planted and harvested an acre of sweet corn along side the greenhouse. The Essex farm supplied the neighborhood for the summer. Over the years Bill studied precision metal machining, wood working, ceramics, and drawing. He loved ice skating and roller skating. He built an early personal computer from a kit. He spent early retirement years as a realtor. Bill was the last president of the Linwood Mutual Water Company in Visalia. Bill was a devoted father and grandfather, always cheering on any activity or giving what the family affectionately called his "lectures" on any subject. He was an accomplished pianist who inspired the love of music in many family members. The family will cherish the memory of surrounding Bill with song during his final days. A celebration of Bill's life for family and friends will be held on at 11:00 am on April 19 at the Essex Ranch in Bootjack near Mariposa, California. Boots and jeans recommended for this casual event. Contact Bill Essex of Modesto for information about the memorial. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent in Bill's name to the College of Sequoias Foundation at 915 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, California 93277, or www.cos.edu/foundation. Arrangements by Smith Family Chapel, Exeter. Condolences: www.smithfamilychapel.com

Funeral Home

Smith Family Chapel
505 East Pine Street Exeter, CA 93221
(559) 592-9119

Published in Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Adv-Register on Apr. 12, 2014