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William Otto (Bill) Protz

1944 - 2020
William Otto (Bill) Protz Obituary
William (Bill) Otto Protz

William (Bill) Otto Protz died at the age of 75 from cardiac arrest from complications related to diabetes caused by Agent Orange poisoning. If you knew Bill, you knew he was a brave man who faced his battles head on with grace and humor. As such, and always prepared, he penned his own obituary:


Bill was born to Don Protz and Helen Hart in 1944 in Wallace Idaho. He was the youngest of three children and is preceded in death by his parents, sister Margaret and brother Craig. Bill was raised in Carlsbad, New Mexico where his father worked as a mining engineer. Bill attended Eisenhower Jr High in Carlsbad and went on to St. John's Military School in Salina Kansas where he graduated in 1962 at the top of his class.

After a year at Iowa State University, he enlisted in the Army during the Cuban missile crisis. Following President Kennedy's assassination, Bill applied to and graduated from the field artillery officer candidate school and was commissioned as second lieutenant in the active army reserve in 1964. For the next 9 years he served as a Range Safety Officer (McGregor Missile Range) in New Mexico and two tours of duty in Vietnam. In 1967 Bill deployed to the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in II Corps, Bong Son and Camp Evans Vietnam. In 1970, Bill returned to Vietnam for a second tour as Assistant District Advisor in Khiem Hanh, Tay Ninh Province Vietnam.

After wasting a year in Texas trying to sell real estate, Bill and his first wife, Nancy Bang, took employment with Bell Helicopter in Isfahan, Iran. After Bill and his first wife divorced, Bill lost his heart to a red-headed lass from San Francisco. Bill courted her proposing marriage numerous times. Little did Bill know he was marrying into a committee. Bill married Joan Molinari and her large Irish/Italian Catholic family in 1981, thereby filling a long-standing science void in the family.

In 1985 Bill and Joan welcomed their son Andrew Donald into the family. Bill was a caring, loving and involved parent. Andy was the light of his life.

Bill graduated with a BS in Education from UNR in 1995 and began his happiest career, teaching in the classroom. Capitalizing on his artillerymen skills in math and science he entertained his students with endless fun experiments. Most memorably, Bill manufactured hydrogen (the most common element in the universe) in the classroom. Unfortunately, due to "operator error" he created 150% of the hydrogen needed. When he lit off the experiment, a terrific ignition ensued causing so much air pressure the ceiling tiles lifted 6 ". Of course, the students wanted him to "Do it again Mr. Protz!"

Bill succumbed to his illness after a long, extremely brave but always good-humored battle with government-approved, toxic-to-humans Agent Orange.

So I've written my obituary. For the full (true) story, you'll have to wait for Joan's obituary.


Job well done, Bill. Mission accomplished. Always brave, always true, always loved.

A memorial service with be held at a later date.

Donations to your local veterans organization would make Bill happy.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal from Feb. 28 to Mar. 15, 2020
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