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William B. Arce

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William B. Arce Obituary
June 24, 1925 - March 7, 2016 William Benjamin Arce Jr. ("Bill") age 90, long time resident of Claremont California, passed in peace March 7, 2016 . He was surrounded and comforted by his loving family. Born in Oakland, California to William Benjamin Arce Sr. and Edith Caroline Friberg Arce, Bill was raised with his older sister Lorraine who passed away on August 2, 2012. Bill's father shared with him his love for the game of baseball. Pearl Harbor and World War II interrupted what might have been a professional baseball career. He enlisted at 19 and as part of the "Greatest Generation" Bill fought with Patton's infantry in Europe in the Battle of the Bulge. A critical moment in his life came facing a life or death moment. Bill made a promise that if The Lord spared him he would do something meaningful with his life. Bill survived to win a Purple Heart and fulfill his promise. He attended Stanford University, captained the baseball team, became a math teacher and earned a Masters Degree and a Doctorate in Education from Stanford. In 1956, Bill accepted an offer to join the Athletic staff at Pomona College, and in 1958 he was asked to become the first Athletic Director and Baseball Coach for Claremont Men's College (now combined as Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd and Scripps Colleges or "CMS"). He retired as the CMS Baseball Coach in 1980 and as Athletic Director in 1982. Under Bill's initial leadership, CMS became one of the top collegiate NCAA Division III athletic programs. The CMS baseball field is dedicated to Bill; there is an "Arce Scholarship Fund" established by former players and CMS, and in 2013, CMS endowed its Athletic Director position as the 'Director of Athletics William B Arce Professor and George Roberts Fellow'. In addition to his storied collegiate coaching career, Bill developed a second, unpaid "side career" coaching and teaching baseball internationally. In 1962-1963 he took his young family to live in the Netherlands to help develop the Dutch national baseball program. The contacts he made on this trip led to Bill taking multiple collegiate teams to Europe. He organized clinics, and taught players and coaches alike, all over the globe, many times taking Major League Coaches with him. He was the first American to run baseball clinics in Belgium, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Yugoslavia and in 1980 the People's Republic of China. He coached on numerous US national and international all-star teams in tournaments and competitions throughout Europe, Central America and Asia. And, as head coach, he led the Dutch and later the Italians to win the European Baseball Championships. In 1985, Bill founded International Sports Group ('ISG'), still operating today, to continue his mission of coaching and teaching baseball around the world. Using baseball and sports as a metaphor for life, Bill coached and developed generations of young players and coaches throughout the world. He became one of the most well-known and influential people in international baseball. Bill was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, the Claremont McKenna College Hall of Fame, the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Dutch and Italian Baseball Halls of Fame. In 2001, Bill was awarded the prestigious 'Lefty Gomez Award', collegiate baseball's highest honor. Bill took great joy traveling to Hawaii, Australia and San Francisco to visit his children and their families. He loved spending time at the family lake house in Twain Harte, California and he was very proud of the colorful flowers that bloomed in his garden at his home in Mt San Antonio Gardens. Bill was a member of the 'Bear Valley Gang', was on the board and a past president of the American Baseball Coaches Association, and an elder at the Claremont Presbyterian Church. Bill is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Nancy, his daughter Judy Arce Scott (David); sons Jim (Pat) and Jeff (Loan); nine grand children and 4 great grandchildren. The family appreciates the professional and thoughtful care of the nurses and physicians in his final days and is comforted by the outpouring of love and affection received in Bill's passing. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill's honor at the "William B. Arce Scholarship Fund" at CMC 400 N. Claremont Blvd. Claremont CA 91711 (online.cmc.edu/arcegiftpage) or to the "Mt San Antonio Gardens Scholarship Fund" at 900 E. Harrison, Pomona CA 91767. A memorial service is planned for May1, 2016 on the campus of Claremont McKenna College.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Mar. 22 to Mar. 27, 2016
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