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William "Bill" Grigsby
Jan 16, 2012 | 737 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bill was born November 30, 1936 in Honolulu, Hawaii, and died at the age of 75 in Christus Spohn Shoreline Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, on January 12, 2012, the victim of lung cancer with complications.

He was preceded in death by his father, the late Lt. Cmdr. William Burton Grigsby; his mother, Melba Anna Held Ball; and his son, Kip Grigsby.

He is survived by his wife, Florence "Jean" Grigsby of Beeville; a daughter, Kimberly (Mark) Eggert of Mathis; two grandsons, Boyce Eggert of Beeville and Benjamin Eggert of Mathis; a great-granddaughter, Bentley Brooke Eggert of Odem; and a half-sister, Dianne Sherman Covill of Alaska.

Bill left a very large family to mourn him, including nephews, Larry (Debbie), Jerry (Brenda) and Bob (Angie) Burk, all of Corpus Christi; Dean Sammons, Tammy (Mike) Harper, Michael Sammons and John Mark (Toy) Sammons, children of sister-in-law Ruth (Darryl) Skaggs, all of Rome, Georgia; sister-in-law, Sylvia Albright, and children, Stephanie (Glenn) Wright of Forestburg and Rob Albright of Houston; a brother-in-law, Ed (Sandy) Burk of Sandia and daughter, Brenda Burnett of Victoria.

Bill married his wife of 55 years, Florence Geneva "Jean" Burk on March 3, 1956, in Las Vegas, Nevada. They lived in the Los Angeles area, where both children were born. Due to their son’s health problem, they moved to Texas in 1958.

Bill’s odyssey in life began as a Ford tractor mechanic, taught at his brother-in-law’s shop, Johnny Burk’s Tractor in Mathis, where he developed his love for the old Ford tractors. He worked at Roy Jackson Tractor Company in Sinton and part time at Fuller Tractor in Beeville. He later owned and operated Bill’s Tractor Service. Here, he was very active in the Jaycees and as a volunteer fireman in Mathis.

After the death of his son, Kip, Bill pursued his career. From November 1967 to May 1974, he was trained as a structural/crash firefighter at Chase Field in Beeville. On his days off, he served as Civil Defense Director and creator of the Mathis Rescue team. He and his team were called upon by the governor to assess damages in state disasters. He was a guest instructor at Texas A&M in fire and heavy-duty rescue during these years.

In 1974, Bill was selected as Fire Chief at the Glen Canyon Dam project in Page, Arizona. Before President Nixon returned the government town to the citizens, Bill built and trained both an ambulance/rescue team and ran a volunteer fire department as well as inspecting dam galleries and generator areas.

In 1975, Bill transferred to Umatilla Army Munitions Depot in Oregon. He was on the firefighter team responsible for the buried munitions. Here, Bill bought 20 beautiful acres and planned to retire there with his horses, Herefords and, of course, his wife and daughter.

In 1976, Bill received a phone call that his expertise was greatly needed on the Grand Coulee Dam project in Washington. He drove to the project, did a survey, and "jumped in." His title was Chief of Plant Protection, which included Chief and trainer of the federal fire department, designer and creator of a security system/department for the entire project, which included the federal properties in the four counties of Grant, Douglas, Lincoln and Okanogan. He was appointed special federal deputy and was a memeber of the Washington State Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Association. During this 10 years, the government borrowed Bill numerous times to do assessments of other government dams in the Pacific Northwest. He was responsible for receiving and desciminating earthquake events to all dams in the Pacific Northwest. In his spare time, he bowled, served on Grand Coulee City Council, enjoyed his memberships in the Elks and Eagles lodges, and his many trips to Reno to relieve stress.

In 1986, the last of these "borrowed" assignments was to do a fire assessment of Yellowstone National Park for the National Parks Service. The problems were so many and so great that Congress created a position for a fire Chief, which the park never had. During his year there, he trained the volunteer department, which inspected and brought up to code all park properties. He designed a unique fire truck, which was built to his specs in Dallas, Texas. This truck saved many historical structures during the big fire. Before the big fire, Bill transferred to Chase Field as Fire chief, where he served until his retirement.

After retiring, Bill returned to his old love of restoring old Ford tractors. Nothing gave him more pleasure than to have an old junker brought in and then leave "purring like a kitten.” He also served on the Bee County Water board.

A private family burial of the cremation was held in the family plot in Sandia. A "short and sweet" memorial was held at Galloway Funeral Chapel in Beeville on January 23, 2012, at 2 p.m. That service was immediately followed with an informal celebration of his life at the Beeville Community Center, 111 E. Corpus Christi Street, Beeville, Texas.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests that donations in his name be sent to the South Texas Children’s Home, P.O. Box 759, Beeville, Texas 78104 or The Salvation Army, 521 Josephine Street, Corpus Christi, Texas 78401.

Bill’s favorite scripture: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Matthew 7:12)

Galloway & Sons Funeral Home
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