WILLIAM (BILL) LEE HELLUMS
October 31, 1938 – April 7, 2019
Bill grew up in a family with baseball in their genes which he luckily and happily inherited. He passed away peacefully on April 7, 2019. He was born on October 31, 1938, in Willits, California, to Chester and Lois (Bracken) Hellums. In his early years, he played baseball through The Willits Little League Program which included Senior League and Colt League, the latter being the proud district champs when he and his teammates enjoyed a trip to Riverside for state competition. Bill graduated from Willits High School in 1956 where he excelled in three sports--football, basketball , baseball and was involved in many school's activities and was a member of the local Demolay. He went on to study at Santa Rosa Junior College where he was a member of the SRJC Baseball Co- Champs in 1958. He married his high school sweetheart, Janet Gray, also a avid sports enthusist. They began dating after they met in their high school Spanish Class. They chose to return to their beloved home town, and were married in The Willits Methodist Church on June 28, 1959. They both continued studies at San Jose State University where Bill graduated in 1962 with his secondary teaching credential in Physical Education and a history minor. After graduation, he taught PE and was a wresling coach in the Campbell School District in San Jose. While in San Jose, he also played on several champion city fast-pitch softball teams. The couple longed to move back to a rural community, and in the fall of 1964 Bill was thrilled when he was offered a position teaching drivers ed and training, history, and coaching JV football at Analy High School in Sebastopol. Janet commuted to Sonoma High School where she taught in the PE Department. They bought their first home with 4 acres just outside the Sebastopol City Limits, and happily lived there for 43 years while Bill became a full time Physical Ed teacher for 35 years at his beloved Analy High. During those years, he also enjoyed coaching JV and varsity baseball as well as freshman and JV football. For years, during many spring and summer months--before and after his children were born--he volunteered to organize and coach Sebastopol's city youth baseball teams. He was a "players coach", and well liked in the community because he put the young players' physical, mental , and emotional needs first before a winning record, although his teams had their share of winning seasons. He also taught summer school at Analy High with an amazing 100 students in his drivers' education classes in the cafeteria with complete control and attention. Bill often inviteded infulencial guest speakers from the community. After regular school hours and morning summer school classes, when not coaching, he taught many students how to drive. Throughtout West Sonoma County, eventually children of his former students took lessons through Bill's same popular driving program. After retiring from teaching in June, 1998, Bill continued to teach drivers' training after school to many students for another 18 years, numbering in the thousands during his entire teaching career. He retired from driving in 2016 after his second grandson was his last student and earned his license. From the time they were very young, both his grandsons insisted their Grandpa was going to teach them how to drive. Bill always saw the good in everyone he met including his colleagues and students. He was well liked and respected because of his extraordinary patience, thoughtfulness, willingness to listen and help, his sense of humor, and a twinkle in his eye. After moving to Sebastopol, he played for the Santa Rosa Rose Buds Baseball Team for several years. He especially loved coaching his own sons from their early years in soccer, and at all levels of Little League play, until they played football and baseball for him on their Analy Freshmen and Jr. Varsity Teams.
One of Bill's happiest and most exciting moments was when his boys were born in Feb., 1969 without any prior knowledge they would be twins. Being a dedicated family man, he adored and was proud of his sons, and fully supported all their interests and activities. He was a beloved husband, son, father, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, and uncle. He is survived by his wife, Janet Hellums, of 59 wonderful years, his identical mirror twin sons, Kyle (Susan) Hellums and Lance (Sarah) Hellums, and his 4 grandchildren Aiden, Tyler, Phoebe, and Eloise, step grandchildren, Nico and Mason, brother Robert (Danelle) Hellums, uncle Don Bracken, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Bill's favorite pastimes, besides everything baseball, included boating, swimming, and water activities on weekends and during family vacations. He had unlimited patience driiving his boat all day long on various lakes with his sons, their friends, and the family's water loving dogs. Other passions and interests were gardening, golfing, camping, fishing, hunting, crossword puzzles, and supporting his wife ,Janet , show their dogs at AKC Obedience Trials throughout CA , OR, and WA. He was a lifetime loyal fan of the SF Giants and 49ers. He also enjoyed the many annual trips to Lake Tahoe with friends, as well as attending the Professional Bull Riders events with family members, including his grandboys, in various cities as well as at the PBR Championships in Las Vegas. On their mini Sebastopol dream ranch, Bill liked driving his John Deer tractor, enjoyed a variety of the family's pet animals which included ponies, horses, chickens...but especially his goats...who recognized his truck's motor from long distances away, and followed him everywhere.
Bill's friendly, caring, always helpful, patient laid-back personality, kindness, and sense of fun will be greatly missed while he has gone Home to be with his Lord and Savior.
A private family burial will be held at a later date.
Published in The WillitsNews from May 8 to Jun. 6, 2019.