Bill Barton passed away peacefully at 1:17 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2023, in his sleep in the company of family and friends at his Westgate home in Eureka. Bill was 89 years old.
Harold and Edna Barton, Bill’s father and mother, were presented with a fine-looking baby boy at the hospital in Saranac Lake, New York on October 14, 1934. This made the family complete, along with Bill’s older brother, Harold A. Barton (Pudge). Bill (Buzzy) enjoyed school and graduated from Rainier High School in Rainier, Oregon, in 1952.
In 1952, Bill’s father and mother persuaded him to enroll in the Oregon Institute of Technology, located in Klamath Falls, Oregon. During the next two years he excelled in boiler operation and heavy machinery repair. That became his hallmark. He was prepared for service. Seventy years later he returned to Oregon Tech as an honorary “Gold Owl” alumni for graduation.
Bill served in the Coast Guard from 1954 to 1958, and during that time he serviced the St. George Light House and was assigned for two years to Coast Guard Buoytender/Icebreaker Bulsam WLB-62 on the US West Coast and in the Arctic.
Bill met Ann Sherman at a dance in the Loleta Fireman’s Hall and they were married shortly thereafter. Bill and Ann were married for 41 years when she passed away in 1998. Bill met Betty Mowrey in 1999 and they were married for 18 years. Betty passed in 2017.
Bill worked as a rock crusher for the Columbia County Road Department in 1951, and then was assigned to Bizzard Matthews, Eureka in 1964. He then moved on to the Arcata City Motor Pool and later that year began to work for the State Division of Highways in Garberville. He assumed the position of head mechanic until retiring in 1995.
After retirement Bill volunteered for a number of years in the rebuilding of the St. George Reef Lighthouse off the coast of Crescent City.
Bill was a passionate Liberal. He was a regular reader of a number of local, regional and national newspapers. He was able to keep track of all of the issues, easily able to recall political players by name, home state and political affiliation. At one point Bill had as his “outgoing voicemail” message “…Bill Barton, the Liberal By The Bay”.
In retirement, Bill established the Barton & Caruso Winery in Eureka, specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varietals. As a vintner, he prided himself on a special clientele. Bill never sold the grape, but only gifted the wine to family, friends and the Eureka Elks Lodge #652. His wine became a symbol of his love for new and old acquaintances alike.
Bill leaves behind two stepsons, Mark Mowrey (Fortuna) and Dan Mowrey (Redding), brother Harold A. Barton (South Pasadena), step grandson Donald Mowrey (Lansing, Michigan), cousin Duane Bernard (Oregon), and sister-in-law Jane Sherman Frasher (Arcata). Preceding Bill in death are first wife Ann Sherman Barton and 2nd wife Betty Mowrey Barton, stepdaughter in law Linda Mowrey and grand stepson James Mowrey. Close surviving friends include Debo Lowe, LeAnne Morini, Collin Jackson, June Johnson, Jack & Linda Pearsson, Ollie & Alicia Pearsson, Howard & Karen Ritter, Tom Pederson, Jeff Coontz, Lonnie & Maureen Arney, Hank & Mitzi Beck, Bob & Cheryl Holt, Dave & Marie Eberhardt, Keith & Wendy Caruso and family and his many friends at the Eureka Elks Lodge and the Redwood Roamer RV Group.
For 21 years he was a member in good standing with the Eureka Elks and during that time helped establish the Redwood Roamers. He was an advocate of Elkdom serving on the House Committee and in the dining services.
Bill started working at the age of 16 and retired 46 years later, in his 62nd year. He was a workaholic and was devoted to anything mechanical. May his life story be a blessing to his family and many friends.
Bill’s family would like to thank his personal caregivers during his final few months, June Johnson, Alicia and Ollie Pearsson and Rhonda Taylor.
Memorial donations can be made in Bills name to St. George Reef Lighthouse at https://www.saintgeorgereeflight.org/
A memorial service will be held at the Elks Lodge, 445 Herrick Ave, Eureka on January 13, 2024, from 1 to 4 p.m.
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