March 30, 1929 ~ February 15, 2011
William George Morton, also known as Bill , passed away Tuesday, February 15, 20ll at Vista Hospital of South Bay. He was 81.
A long time resident of Compton, Bill was retired from General Motors Corporation. He was the son of Jesse, a carpenter and Roberta a homemaker, born in Chicago, Illinois on March 30, 1929.
Along with his parents and siblings Carl, Veloyd and Juanita, he moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1942, later Mt. Clemens in 1944.
He joined the army in 1946 and served until 1949. He served in the armored corps in a light tank M-41 that was built by Cadillac. He also worked as a hospital cook after completing the Quartermaster Corps Course of Instruction for Course D Cooks at Ft. Meade, where he could treat himself to grilled steak and butter, foods in limited supply during the depression he grew up in.
He enlisted in the Air Force Reserves in July of 1950 and was called to active duty in August. He was stationed in Japan just outside of Kyoto and later that year in Kyushu, then Yonago. He served in K-9/Pusan, Korea for one year, before returning to Japan to marry Chiyo Nishimura.
While shopping for souvenirs in a gift shop, the salesgirl caught his eye. He knew from the moment he saw her that she would become his wife. He called her his â€œlittle flowerâ€. They departed Yokohama on the USNS General William H. Gordon arriving in San Francisco on May 9, 1952. Throughout their 41 year marriage, Bill would always remind Chiyo, â€œItsumademoâ€ (it-su-ma-de-mo), which means â€œforeverâ€ in Japanese.
After a short stint with the postal service, he began his career at GM in South Gate. He enjoyed the camaraderie he had with his co-workers and the pace of building cars. He submitted his own ideas for car improvements in the suggestion box and although he was rewarded a small amount, he was pleased that his ideas were used.
He served as an officer in the UAW Local 216 and was active in encouraging voter participation. As long ago as 1974 he was active politically working very hard to help March Fong Eu, the first Asian woman elected to a statewide office, to win her election. He once donned a Santa suit for the union Christmas party, giving toys to the children.
His love for Latin music began when he experienced live performances of Xavier Cugat in downtown Los Angeles in the 50â€™s and would continue throughout his life. He also enjoyed Mongo Santamaria in concert at Concerts by the Sea in Redondo Beach and the late Francisco Aguabella at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center.
He played the congas and loved to perform with his friends at the VFW hall, or at home as the music filled the house, and at times, beyond.
He taught his family the value of education, hard work and above all, faith in God. Once he advised, â€œPeople are always going to tell you what to do, but you need to listen to God.â€ He always prayed before driving and would read aloud Psalm 117: â€œPraise the Lord all ye nations, Praise him all ye people: For his merciful kindness is great toward us and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise ye the Lord.â€
Survivors include children Floria, Tony (Linda), Ana(Edward) Frankel and Dario. Grandchildren include Brian, Alan, Charlie, Elizabeth, Samuel, Jennifer, Devralai and Cameron. Siblings are Carl, Veloyd, Juanita and a host of relatives.
He is predeceased by his wife Chiyo, on May 15, 1993.
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