William A. (Bill) Gleason October 14, 1939 to February 28, 2020 Bill was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts on Oct 14, 1939, the second child of Carl and Harriet Gleason and brother to Carol Hollingshead, Hot Springs, Arkansas. Bill was an active child, playing baseball and hockey. Like many New Englanders that lived on the water, Bill took up small boat sailing and at an early age started winning. Bill's passion for sailing kept him occupied during the summer months with hockey in the winter. Little known to most of Bill's contemporary friends, he also played a mean French Horn and the accordion. How his skills on that latter instrument came to be, for an Irish protestant kid from Marblehead, is a mystery to this day. Bill graduated from Marblehead High School in 1957 and then headed North to Lewiston, Maine where he became a 1961 graduate of Bates College with a degree in economics. During his college years Bill maintained his passion for sailing, participating in the 1960 Pan American games. In 1962, Bill enlisted in the US Army Counter-Intelligence Corps and was posted in Bangkok, Thailand for three years during the early Vietnam conflict. There he performed intelligence gathering in Laos and Cambodia via parachute, while ostensibly teaching English in Bangkok. Bill was introduced to the Thai Royal Family and often sailed against the King at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya. One of his proudest photographs was the young King of Thailand presenting him with their first National Championship trophy in 1964. Upon completion of his military service, he returned to the US and received an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management, in Arizona. In 1966 Bill was hired by Crown Zellerbach Corporation in San Francisco, then one of the world's preeminent forest product, pulp and paper companies. Bill was soon transferred to their export division in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This started Bill's global travels that took him to six of the seven continents. Bill's love for international travel adventures continued right up to his death, having just visited the Seychelles, his 179th country. Bill's passion for sailing continued while in the Caribbean, competing and winning in Finn class boats as well as Sunfish. He soon developed a skill sailing multihull boats, specifically Hobie Cats, which saw him win numerous titles, including defeating Hobie Alter in the first International Hobie Cat Championship. While in Puerto Rico, Bill met Suzanne Grady, whom he married in 1967. They had two children, Nat and Liza. The family moved to Marin County, CA in 1973 when Bill accepted a transfer to Crown Zellerbach world headquarters in San Francisco. In 1976 Bill was recruited by Consolidated Fibres Inc., then the largest paper recycling company in the world, headquartered in San Francisco. Bill was hired to create an International division to develop export markets for this growing, global commodity. In 1984 Bill founded Pacific Forest Resources Inc, in Marin County. Vic Rice joined him and would be Bill's partner, strategic collaborator and friend for the next 40 years. Together they capitalized on the growing global demand for recycled fiber as well as wood pulp and packaging materials. After five years of rapid growth, Pacific Forest was acquired by CellMark AB of Gothenburg, Sweden, the world's largest privately-owned Pulp and Paper marketing company. Bill became President of the Packaging Division and a member of the Board of Directors. He retired in 2011. In 2002, a newly single man, Bill was introduced to Doreen Ash of Colusa. The connection was immediate and strong as they shared a mutual love for scuba diving, golf, snow skiing, world travel, and the 49ers. They married in 2003. Bill was an avid golfer and member of Meadow Club in Fairfax. Bill and Doreen had a love for the entire Meadow Club experience and the friends they made there. Bill was an avid reader and a great storyteller. He found his most gratifying joy in sharing time and travels with Doreen, his children Nat and Liza, their spouses Anne and Tony, and three grandsons, Ben, Max and Devin. They traveled in recent years to the Galapagos and swam with the whale sharks in the Gulf of California, fulfilling a longtime dream of Bill's. Bill died on February 28th, 2020. His friends and family all would say that he lived life to the fullest, leaving us all too soon.
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Sep. 6, 2020.