William (Bill) passed away July 27,2022 at the home of his daughter in Sacramento, CA., at the age of 99 ½ years. Bill was born to John Herman Wubbenhorst and Pauline Ferguson Morgan on January 5, 1923, in Liberty, MO. He graduated from Smithville High School. Bill spent the summers with his brother Norman on his Uncle Fred’s farm in Smithville, MO doing chores, riding horses, and eating watermelon taken from the neighbor’s farm.
Bill entered the Navy on September 1, 1942. His sister had made him wait until her baby, Penny, was born. During his career he was stationed on the ship the USS Oklahoma City where he was a Motor Machinist’s Mate. He also obtained a certificate of completion of Fireman, First Class. He was onboard the ship in 1945 when the USS Oklahoma City was dispatched as a member of the US envoy sent to patrol Tokyo Bay during the signing of the peace treaty on the deck of the USS Missouri. He was discharged from the Navy January 16, 1946, as a Motor Machinist’s Mate, Second Class, V6 USNR and returned home.
It is well known that Bill and his friend Carl Green were sitting at the bar in the beer joint in Shawnee, KS, eating a lettuce snack and drinking beer when a young man, Wayne Kniffin and his sister Letha came in and sat at a table. Bill took one look at the pretty girl and turned to his friend and said, “I’m going to marry that girl.” As Bill was being introduced to her, he asked “Are you ready to get married?” At that time, she said “Nooo!” They spent the rest of the evening talking and when it was time to go home her brother had already left. So, Bill took her home, they continued to talk in the car outside her home until 3:00am when she snuck in to go to bed. Six weeks later, on April 2, 1946, they were married in Excelsior Springs, MO. The ceremony was at the home of the Justice of the Peace with his wife, a schoolteacher, and the cop who took them there as witnesses. They were married 73 years until Letha passed away October 5, 2019.
Bill and Letha lived in the Kansas City area for a while on Robinson St. in Overland Park Ks. During that time, he worked for the Power and Light Co in Kansas City and the Muehlebach Brewing Co in Kansas City. However, Bill came from a long line of tradesmen and those skills were his real calling. The family moved to Tucson where he worked in the concrete/masonry and construction business with Letha’s brothers. They then moved on to Los Angeles, CA where he made good in construction. Bill worked at Lloyd’s Bank in LA for many years, doing maintenance and remodeling. He was co-owner in the DeCesare Construction Co. with his friend Pete. He was always working on one project or another. Everywhere he lived he helped the neighbors with all kinds of projects.
He bought a gold mine in in the Chuckwalla Mountains south of Los Angeles, near Desert Center, CA. It was at that little cabin where the family (and extended family) went for weekends to horse around, ride motorcycles, drive the Jeep, and pan for gold.
In 1987, Bill and Letha retired and moved to Yerington, Nevada where they bought some land, built a house and grew an orchard with all types of fruit trees, horseradish, and a vegetable garden. He and Letha canned fruit and shredded horseradish for sauce. Letha’s homemade apple butter was famous, people argued over who would get to take some home. They were regulars at the two casinos in Yerington and had made many friends.
Bill was a man of many interests. He bought interest in a gold mine in the High Sierra Mountains around Yerington. He spent many hours with his friend John Bielaski looking for ore. Bill erected a rock crusher in his back yard, where he and John would crush the ore and pan for gold. Letha had a locket filled with gold he had found.
In 2005, at the age of 81, Bill and Letha decided to move back to Kansas City, to be closer to their son Bill, Jr and spend time with the last of their siblings. Bill bought a house at a garage sale in a neighborhood close to their son, made a few updates (had to have a project) and enjoyed that home util 2015. There were many dinners, card parties, and barbeques with the family. Wherever he was he was known to have a rowdy game of Chase the Ace with all his family around him.
In January 2015, Bill and Letha move out of the snow and ice back to California, where they lived in Sacramento area, at the home of their daughter Joyce and son-in-law Sam Stephens. It is there that both Bill and Letha spent their last days and passed away peacefully.
Bill is survived by his children, Joyce Ann Stephens (Sam), William E. Wubbenhorst, Jr (Lori), and James F. Wubbenhorst. He is also survived by grandchildren, Jennifer Garcia, Cara Farrow (Collin), Lyndie Peery (Eric), Chris Wubbenhorst (Lacey), Matt Wubbenhorst (Merri), by 13 great grands, Vanessa Linares, Arturo (AJ) Garcia, Max & Jillian Farrow, Mikey Wubbenhorst, Marilyn & Emily Torres, London Peery, Carson Wubbenhorst, Keith York, Noah, Cooper & Easton Wubbenhorst, and great-great granddaughter, Ella Joyce Linares. There are also many nieces and nephews who will miss him and the many card games.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents, and wife Letha Pauline Wubbenhorst, a daughter Linda Kay Barrett and granddaughter Tina Denise Barrett. He is also preceded by all his siblings, John F. Wubbenhorst, Loretta Hall, Evelyn Brand, Norman Wubbenhorst, Doris Bernhart.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, September 3, 2022,
at the home of Sam and Joyce Stephens in Elverta, CA.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, September 9, 2022,
at the home of granddaughter Jennifer Garcia in West Covina, CA.
The graveside service will be held on Friday, September 23, 2022, at 11am
at the Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens, 11200 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS. 66210