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William B. Bliss

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William B. Bliss Was born in Bakersfield, California, December 23, 1935. As an alumnus of New Mexico State University, he worked at Lockheed Martin in Alaska, New Mexico, California and Taiwan. He retired from Lockheed in 1999, with over 40 yrs of service.

His longtime passions were bicycling and advocacy for safer cycling conditions. His obsession with bicycling began in 1976 with a decision to celebrate the Bicentennial of the United States by taking his family on a 3,000 + mile bike ride across the USA, from Virginia to California. To accommodate his 9 and 7-year old daughters, he built a three-seated bicycle, which now hangs on the wall above the family dining room table.

His advocacy for safer cycling conditions lead to enduring contributions to: Pedalera, Almaden Cycle Touring Club, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, California Association of Bicycling Organizations, Regional Bay Area Bicycle Advisory Committee, California Parks and Recreation, San Francisco Bay Trail, CalTrans Bicycle Advisory Committee, California State Recreation Trails Committee, and Rails to Trails.

His lifelong cycling odometer exceeds 250,000 miles, with 59,000 since his retirement. Since the beginning of 2000, he has cycled around the world, from Montana to Alaska, from California to Florida, and down the Continental Divide-Canada to Mexico. He died on June 24 in a cycling accident with a motor vehicle in the mountains of Colorado, following the same cross-country route as the trip with his family in 1976.

He met his wife Bonnie at Sir Francis Drake High School. They have been happily married since March 7, 1964. He is preceded in death by his parents, Percival and Alice Bliss and his son William Brian Bliss. He is loved and missed by his wife, Bonnie Ryder Bliss, sister Elizabeth "Betty" Harbert of Carmel, brother Robert "Bob" of Los Gatos, daughter Shannon of Kernville, daughter Heather, son-in-law Wade Brannon, and grandson Blake Brannon of Seattle.

Friends and family are invited to a gathering celebrating his life to be held on Thursday, June 30th from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. at La Hacienda Restaurant, 18840 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd. A private inurnment will be held at a later date. Donations in lieu of flowers will be accepted in his name by the San Francisco Bay Trail, www.baytrail.org, P.O. Box 2050 Oakland, California 94604.
Published in San Jose Mercury News on June 28, 2005
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