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William C. Bottger


1941 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
William C. Bottger Obituary
William Carl Bottger Jr. died at home with his family on January 16, 2018 in Pasadena. He was 76. Bill Bottger was born in Roanoke, Virginia to William C. Bottger and Anne Harrison Sneed Bottger. For the last 45 years he was a resident of La Canada and Pasadena, California.

After growing up in Roanoke, Bill completed his secondary education at Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, VA. He attended Dartmouth College, interrupting his studies to become a Lieutenant in the United States Army, where he completed the rigorous training to become an Airborne Army Ranger. After the Army Bill returned to his studies and graduated from Dartmouth. He worked for Time-Life Inc. in New York, and spent 6 months in Vietnam as the Representative for Military Sales in Southeast Asia. After returning to New York City from Vietnam in 1967 Bill met and married the love of his life, Shirley. They would have been celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary in February 2018.

Bill earned his law degree at the University of Virginia and then moved to Los Angeles in 1972 where he began his career as an attorney with Latham and Watkins, eventually becoming a senior partner. As the capstone to his career in employment law, he took great professional satisfaction in litigating a successful defense of the City Torrance Police and Fire Departments in a hiring discrimination suit brought by the United States Department of Justice. Inspired by his work with the Torrance P.D., Bill trained as a reserve police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department and then arranged for early retirement from Latham and Watkins to launch a second career as a full-time patrol officer for the Glendale Police Department. He completed his police training as the oldest candidate to enter the Rio Hondo Police Academy.

After 3 years with the Glendale P.D. Bill returned to legal practice in a prosecutorial role, first as a district attorney, and soon after as a Deputy United States Attorney. In one last professional adventure he volunteered for a special assignment with the Regime Crimes Liaison Office in Iraq, under direction of the US State Department. He spent six months living in a shipping container in the green zone of Bagdad (the first time in over 40 years that he and Shirley were ever apart for longer than a week.) He contributed to the trial team that convicted Saddam Hussein and other prominent members of the former Iraqi regime.

During his life Bill had many passionate pursuits beyond work and family. He earned his second-degree black belt in Shotokan karate under the instruction of Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama. He was also an avid rock climber for decades and brought his family with him on many backcountry climbing trips. He took great pride and pleasure from his ascent of Half-Dome in Yosemite along with 8 more of the “50 Classic Climbs of North America” which he completed. Bill’s adventures continued in his retirement years with hunting and motorcycle trips on several continents. Bill and Shirley have travelled together on motorcycle tours multiple times across much of the US, as well as parts of Europe and Morocco. Bill also pursued various wild game on hunts in North America and Africa. He reminisced with deepest gratitude for the elk hunts far in the backcountry of the Grand Teton Wilderness that he was able to share with his sons and his brother in the last several years. His most recent antelope hunt was just this past fall.

Surviving Mr. Bottger are his wife of 50 years, Shirley Tietjen Bottger; four children, Carl and wife Leandra Darcy of Vashon Washington, Christina and husband Kristof Tietjen of Berkeley California, Fritz and wife Cindy Bottger of South Pasadena, and daughter Erica of Pasadena California; his brother John Bottger and wife Carolyn of Richmond Virginia; and his Croatian son (who first came to the family as an AFS exchange student) Tom Zelenovic, and four children Macy, Marko, Alex & River. And Bill had a very special place in his heart for his grandchild Juniper (Fritz and Cindy’s daughter.)

Services for Mr. Bottger will be held at noon on Friday Jan 26 at the Church of the Angels in Pasadena with the reverend Robert J. Gaestel presiding.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Wounded Warrior Project or ASPCA.
Published in San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Jan. 23, 2018
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