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William Wiley Bedsworth, Sr.


1918 - 2010 Obituary Condolences
Bill Bedsworth, always the last to stop working, finally laid down his burdens on September 8, 2010. Born November 7, 1918, Bill was a 60-year resident of El Camino Village who loved the fact he had been "born with the Bolsheviks and outlasted 'em". No one who knew him was surprised he was tougher than Communism. Raised dirt poor during the Depression, Bill found his education wherever his family found work. From the Mexican border at Ysleta, Texas, to Kansas City, Missouri, wherever there were fields to work, things to carry or nails to hammer, Floyd and Grace Bedsworth, and their children were there to do it. Bill never voted as an adult because he insisted he had "used up his franchise" as a boy when his mother took him from polling place to polling place, voting dead people's names for the Pendergast machine in Kansas City. "It was good money in those days." He joined the Marines when the war broke out, becoming a paratrooper because an officer came through the brig offering anyone who would sign up for paratroop school a get-out-of-jail free card. Bill had recovered enough from the drunken brawl he'd been in the night before to sign up, but he suffered a broken shoulder in jump school, and spent the rest of his life lamenting the fact he had been sitting on New Caledonia while the rest of his unit went ashore at Iwo Jima. He was never drunk again. He met the love of his life, Helen Marie Holm, at a USO. A college graduate with a degree in microbiology, Helen was volunteering and fell for the handsome marine the moment he walked through the door. Her wealthy parents didn't approve of her uneducated suitor, but she followed him from the District of Columbia to California, where he and his brothers were working two or three jobs each to raise the money to start their own casket-making business. Bill and Helen were married in Del Mar in December of 1945 and were never apart again until her death in 2004. The business did well until a pyromaniac set fire to it in 1961. New financing was hard to find and Bill and his brothers were unable to rebuild their customer base when they finally found money. He spent the rest of his life, much like his childhood - working hard at whatever work he could find, retiring as a gardener for the city of Redondo Beach. The American Dream is to start out at the bottom and work your way to the top. Bill had no problem with the first part, but he never got near the top. So by most standards, it was not an American Dream life. It was hard and plain and low on creature comforts. But Bill was a connoisseur of what he had. No matter how tough times got for him, Bill would look at the sunset each night and say, "I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight". And he knew how to have a good time . . . all the time . . . every day. He knew the punch line to every joke ever written, and he knew how to make everyone around him feel like they were standing in the sunshine. He provided for his family, and he set an example of perseverance and integrity. So tonight the poor people, along with Bill's two sons, eight grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and everyone who ever knew him, are watching the sun go down and trying to feel as rich as he was.
Published in Daily Breeze on Sept. 14, 2010
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