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William Bassett Jr.

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William Bassett Jr. Obituary
William (Bill) J. Bassett, Jr. Aug. 6th 1924 - Dec. 18th 2011 Bill died peacefully on Sunday afternoon with family at his side. He was 87 years old. He was surrounded by the loves of his life; wife Jeanne, sons Bill and Bob, daughters-in-law Kathy and Karen, grandchildren Heather, Cody, Scott, Eric, Casey, Patrick, Tyler and Beau, great grand-children, Cayden, Landyn, Madison, Caitlin and 'second sons' Doug, Jim and Tom. He joins his beautiful granddaughter Marissa. Born and raised in San Francisco, Bill graduated from Balboa High School in 1942. Returning from the Army and Navy, he went to work as a mechanic for Pan Am Airlines, then later as a SF elevator mechanic. In 1948 he became a San Francisco Fireman. He married his "Lover Girl", Jeanne, in June of 1949. She was the girl from around the corner. He enjoyed a long career as a San Francisco Fireman. He worked at Station 10 as a fireman, Station 34 as a Lieutenant, Station 43 as a Captain, Station 15 as a Battalion Chief, and Division 1 as an Assistant Chief. He was part of the water search and rescue squad and started dive team. He worked the annual Firefighters Toy Program for many many years. Proud moments in Bill's career were when son Bob and good friend Jesse followed him into the fireman profession. He retired in 1982 after 34 years. As a young man he enjoyed hunting and fishing. He sold Trail Blazers and Tote Gote motor scooters to his hunting buddies. His father taught him how to pick abalone by hand from the rocks, later he was able to use the new item, a facemask, to dive for abalone. He began to make neoprene wet suits in his garage for friends. He organized numerous abalone and lobster dive trips with his fireman brothers Art, Bob, Doc, and Norm, to name just a few. He became a legend amongst his peers, diving well into his mid 80's. He moved his young family to Pacifica in 1958. As his sons grew up they got involved with Boy Scouts. Bill was the Scout Master of Pacifica's Troop 136 from 1967-1971. Their troop won numerous Camporee awards over the years. Many of the scouts remain as 'second sons' to the Bassett family. Whenever the extended family gets together there is sure to be a scouting adventure, lead by Bill, told and retold. Bill was 'Dad' and 'Grandpa' to more than just his own offspring. Clear Lake was always a second home to Bill. His Dad moved there when Bill was a young boy. As Bill's family grew they built a second home on the Lake where family and friends enjoyed time playing in the water. There are many fond memories of water skiing, wakeboarding, 4th of July fireworks, roasting marshmallows, cutting down trees and picking up weeds. Bill retired from the SFFD department in 1982 as Assistant Fire Chief, the same year son Bob became a SF fireman. He and buddy Lolly Jones started "BJ Fisheries", a commercial abalone and sea urchin fishing company. Bill and Jeanne were married for 62 years. They loved to travel about in their motor homes with friends Gene and Daisy, Bud and Virginia, Hugh and Fran. They all loved to travel to Baja California, Alaska and up and down the North Coast in hunt of crab, salmon and the 11" abalone. Bill could often be seen riding his bike around Pacifica with buddy Jack as the two searched for any treasures they could find. His grandchildren consider him their hero. They hope to be able to dive, fish, love life and remain active just like Grandpa did for so many years. He will be remembered for his great heart, loving smile and unending generosity and kindness to all that met him. He never had a harsh word to say. Everyone that he touched is a better person for knowing this great man. Due to the large number of community members whose lives he touched, the family is planning a private celebration of life. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the San Francisco Firefighters Toy program. (For more information or to make a donation, please call (415) 777-0440.)
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Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 25, 2011
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