William "Bill" Morris Whitehead, a resident of Manhattan Beach since 1945, passed away on January 27 three days after his 97th birthday. He leaves his wife of 65 years, Kathleen Whitehead, two daughters: Joanne, and son-in-law Dennis Schepis of Hawthorne; Stephanie and son-in-law Ray Suess of Sonora, and two granddaughters, Alicia Christine Schepis and Mary McKenzie Suess. In addition, he will be deeply missed by Kerry Tomlinson of Santa Barbara and Tony and Suzie Tomlinson of North Fork and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and friends to who were all extraordinarily grateful to him for his part in their lives. Born in 1911 to Bracewell and Effie Morris Whitehead in Emporia Kansas, Bill moved to Abilene, Kansas at age one where he remained until he moved to Los Angeles in 1931. He met his wife Kathleen in 1933 during the Long Beach Earthquake. They were married in 1942 in Seattle, while he was stationed on Whidbey Island. Bill arrived in Manhattan Beach with Kathleen after serving in the Navy as an aerographer's mate from 1942 to 1945 in the Philippines and Solomon Islands, New Guinea. The pictures he drew and the journal he kept while in the Philippines are now part of the permanent collection of The Veteran's Project in the Library of Congress. Bill worked at a purchasing agent and plant manager for Virco Manufacturing for 40 years. Upon retirement, he opened his own Silk Screening Company in Baywood Park, California. Art was only one of his passions. Bill enjoyed spending time with friends and family, golf, traveling, music, and wood crafting. He took great pride in the receiving of awards from the Arts Contest held yearly at the Manhattan Beach Old Hometown Fair. His life long love of airplanes culminated in his learning how to fly and soloing when he was 69. A celebration of life and reception for Bill Whitehead will be held on Saturday, February 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Journey of Faith Church, Prospect and Artesia Blvd., Manhattan Beach. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made for the Bill Whitehead Children's Community Park Fund. Checks should be made out to Chapter H PEO and mailed to P.O. Box 2283, Manhattan Beach, CA 90267-2283.

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  1. I worked with Bill at Virco for many years and have great memories of him. He always took the time to listen to you and assist in any way he could to help. He was truly a wonderful human being and will be truly missed by all. Our sincere thoughts and blessings are with his family and friends at this time. Nick & Debbie Wilson

  2. Dear Mrs. Whitehead & family, I’m so sorry to read about the passing of your dear husband, father, and grandfather. He led a remarkable life and left quite a legacy. Mrs. Whitehead, I was a student in your Child Observation classes in the late 60s, and recall that you spoke fondly of your dear husband. Thank you for the positive influence on my life and on my children’s lives (Ginger & Robert Kelly). You made a difference in our lives, and I eventually went back to college and became an elementary teacher. I’m now a proud grandma and will always remember your dedication and positive influence on so many lives. I hope your sweet memories of your husband sustain you. Sincerely, Maggie Kelly

  3. Dear Mrs. Whitehead, Joanne, Dennis and Alicia: Our hearts go out to you with love and gratitude for the many, many good ways in which each of you as well as Mr. Whitehead has touched us. Our condolences to you. Mr. Whitehead was always so good to me — from the “old high school days” with Joanne to recent years if we would see each other at events for Alicia or even coincidentally at a local restaurant. So many good thoughts to treasure because of him and you. Thank you all for being in our lives. You all are special people.

  4. Dear Kathleen, Joanne and Stephanie, Bill has a very special place in (our)my heart – from the time I was a little girl. I remember Bill always had a big smile, a lot of laughter and a welcoming heart. Over the years we enjoyed stories that Mom & Dad shared with us about Bill and your friendship and how much they loved you both. Memories that I have include the rocking cradle and play-sized dish cupboard that Bill built for Diana and I when we were little girls. We played with it, then Kathy enjoyed it as well – and it always reminded me of his thoughtfulness and talents. I also remember in the early 1950’s when it was terribly hot in the summer and you would say, “come on down to the beach”, and we would come and sleep on the living room floor enjoying the cool ocean breezes – what wonderful, warm hospitality. Bill was there to welcome us with his wide smile. I have the ceramic bowl that he made and gave to people at your anniversary party a few years ago, the one with the smiling face (like Bill), and I think of him whenever I put a new plant in it or use it for a flower arrangement. We’ll miss Bill, even though we didn’t get to see either of you much in recent years, but we would think of you often. Kathy and I often said, we need to go visit Bill and Kathleen, but we let other things keep us from doing that – we shouldn’t have done that. We’ll miss him very much – and enjoyed having him in our life. He was indeed, a very special and unique man who loved life, especially you, Kathleen, and Joanne and Stephanie, and all the people in his family and community, a man of humor, faith, integrity, gentle strength, honor and quiet courage who savored life and lived it fully. Our hearts go out to you at this time of your loss – we hope you, too, have a myriad of wonderful memories of Bill. With much love, Donna & John Misterly

  5. Dearest Kay, I am so sorry I am not able to be there today. However I have held my own personal memorial for Bill this morning feeling both the sorrow for not having the opportunity to finish my tales of “A Maine Adventure” to him and the extreme joy for being so lucky to have both of you in my life. Sending you much love and peace during this difficult time.

  6. Kathleen, My memories of Bill are those of a very enthusiastic and vibrant person. I always got a kick out of the fact he loved to surf. His love of life and family was terrific. I know he will be missed. Love to you and the family, Keith and Kathy Clark.

  7. Kay, Linda and I were so sorry to hear of the passing of Bill. You and Bill were among mom and dad’s best friends. They would keep us informed about you and your family. Mom was so pleased that you and Bill stopped by Chico on your way to visit your daughter, that was about 15 years ago. Katherine was too young to remember much of her preschool days with you and Barbara. She lives near us here in Chico. Rebecca, the middle girl lives in San Francisco and made us granparents in March. That certainly makes the retierment years that much sweeter. Our condolences to you and best wishes and hugs, Gordon and Linda Taylor

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