William Charles Rich
1953 - 2020
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William Charles Rich
December 16, 1953 - August 28, 2020
Watsonville, CA
Born in Palo Alto, CA at Stanford Hospital to Laura and Charles Rich. Willie lost his battle with blood cancer on Aug. 28, 2020. He was diagnosed just 8 weeks before.
Willie grew up in Santa Clara, CA, where he was on the swim team and played water polo at Killarney Farms, and met his first wife, Terry Rich. He attended Sutter Elementary, Curtis Jr HS and graduated from Buchser HS in Santa Clara, in 1972. After graduating HS, he joined the U.S. Navy. Stationed in Pearl Harbor Hawai'i, served aboard the USS Preble for 4 years, as a MS-3502, where he reached the Rank of MS3-Mess Attendant Specialist Petty Officer Third Class. He received the Vietnam Campaign Medal, as well as his first Good Conduct medal. In 1976, he returned to Santa Clara to start a family. For 22 years, he worked for the City of Santa Clara's Street Dept. Maintenance and Operations Div. He primarily installed traffic signs, striped roads, marked curbs, applied pavement messages, and other traffic related duties. When he wasn't working, he was proudly cheering at swim meets, soccer, baseball and karate events for his kids. When he wasn't being an active sports dad, he was busy with his hobbies like fishing, boating, water skiing, wake boarding, skateboarding, camping, off roading in the Hollister Hills. He also co-owned "Rich Crafts & Kites" where he hand-made dual line stunt kites for competitions. Though he enjoyed his hobbies, his love for the ocean, surfing, up and down Santa Cruz/Capitola, will forever be undeniable. He competed in many surf contests in CA & HI. Anyone who knew him, knows he has his surfboard in hand, paddling out, surfing waves larger than life as we know it.
He was preceded in his death by his father Charles Rich and his brother Bob Rich. He is survived by his mother Laura Netto and step father Johnny Netto, his brother Eddy Rich, his daughter Katrina Rich Hussey (Justin) of OR, his son Brad Rich (Robyn) of UT, grandchildren: Gabriel Roosevelt, Nahoa Hussey, Mahea Hussey, Lyam Rich, Emma Rich, Nephews: Jason & Joey Rich and Girlfriend of 13 years Trina WhyteOake.
Willie was, in one word, friendly. Whether he knew your name or not, you were invited into his life, with an ice cold beer waiting just for you.
A memorial will be set for next year on the anniversary of his passing.
Forever resting in Aloha

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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Oct. 16, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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2 entries
October 17, 2020
With a heavy heart, You are missed bill.
1976 you returned to see your little brother & me, graduate HS. That is when I officially met you. I married into the family & in 1979 you were chosen to be my son's Godfather, along with terry.
I loved your gentle disposition & was captivated by the Many hobbies/ sports & activities you played. Especially surfing.
You walked to your own drummer making life fun, Always!!
& It seemed you never aged Bill.
I can't believe you are gone .
I'm guessing God needed you for something impressive.
Much love bill.
Your sister-in-law
Cindy Rich
October 16, 2020
It is with a very heavy heart I say goodbye to a school time friend. We were in high school together and spent time in the Navy in Hawaii. I will always remember your laugh. You taught me how to surf as a kid and then took me to some of the most beautiful surf spots in Oahu. Sorry we lost track of one another but one of these days we will meet at the most heavenly surf spot ever. God bless and prayers to your family. Fair winds and following seas my friend.
Jim Penny
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