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Willard Wattenburg Jr.


1936 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Willard Wattenburg Jr. Obituary
Willard (Bill) Harvey Wattenburg, Jr.

Willard (Bill) Harvey Wattenburg, Jr., passed away peacefully on August 2, 2018, surrounded by his family. He was born Feb. 9, 1936 in Chico, California, to parents Willard "Pop" Wattenburg, Sr. and Hazel (Conover). In his early childhood, his family moved often as his father's work as a mechanic took them to Livermore, Oakland, Berkeley, Turlock, back to Chico, and then to the mountains of Plumas County in Northeastern California in 1942, which many generations of Wattenburgs have called home ever since. Bill graduated from high school in 1953, attended college in Chico, earned his bachelor's degree in engineering, then moved on to U.C. Berkeley where he earned his PhDs in Engineering and Physics, subsequently becoming a professor of those subjects at that same institution. He then joined the nuclear weapons design teams at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a relationship that would persist throughout the rest of his life.

He ventured into television and radio in the early 1970's, a passion he enjoyed for the next 40 years, which also led to dabbling in the movie industry. Throughout these adventures, he maintained his connection to the mountains and often had business ventures pertaining to logging and mining. Bill fashioned his career as a scientist who came up with novel solutions to perplexing problems, some of which are chronicled at www.drbill.us.

Bill was important to many people and well-known for his love of children and education as well as his lifelong commitment to helping those in need. In furtherance of this commitment, Bill's family asks that heart-felt gestures of condolence and remembrance be directed in the form of student scholarship support to the Butte Creek Foundation, 14916 Eagle Ridge Dr., Forest Ranch, CA, 95942, phone 530-345-1097. He is survived by his wife, son and four daughters, many adoring grandchildren, along with his sister, brother, and many nieces and nephews. Bill's family will remember him during a private gathering.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 12, 2018
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