William Parker Ahl
July 8, 1920 ~ August 21, 2013
William Parker Ahl known as "Wild Bill" to family and friends, passed away in his home at the age of 93 surrounded by his loved ones.
Bill was known for his great talent to design and build just about anything. He had numerous endeavors throughout his life treating all with a zest of accomplishment and achieving his goals on each and every project. These included but not limited to farming, ranching, built dams, roads, houses and barns. He designed, built and installed machines to sort and tray fruit to dry. He was a mechanic, repaired engines, a welder, fabricator and builder of trailers of all types. He was an electrician and a Land Developer. He was a generous person who helped numerous relatives and friends without ever mentioning or expecting anything in return.
Bill was the younger of two boys born in their home in Santa Rosa to a farmer and rancher, John Ahl and Maude Cordilia Mayfield. He had an older brother Ralph who preceded him in death. In the early years Bill purchased his first tractor at the age of 12. Before he had a car, he rode his horse everywhere, including school. He had a stable in Vallejo where he sold saddle horses. These saddle horses were produced from many trips to Nevada where they ran wild and were rounded up and trucked back to California to be gentled and trained. Bill truly was one of the real "horse whisperers". He could spin a rope and jump in and out of it while standing on top of his horse. His love of horses and animals stayed with him throughout his life.
Bill attended school with his soon to be wife, Marsha Ross. At the time, you wouldn't have convinced him of such. He thought she was too much the tom boy! He graduated from Santa Rosa High school with the class of 1939. It was shortly after this time while working in Mare Island, Bill and Marsha were reunited as welders, and the sparks started flying. They were married in 1942 and enjoyed 69 years together.
Right after the ceremony Bill enlisted in the army and was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas. Here he was an excellent marksman. He enjoyed shooting thoughout his life and taught his children. Bill loved airplanes and flying. He owned six different planes over the years using them as needed for his enjoyment and work. He fed cattle dropping hay bales from the wings of his plane. He also went clam hunting, landed on the beach and flipped his plane over. He had to flip it back in order to fly home.
Bill and Marsha first settled in Santa Rosa on a ranch on Hunter Lane. On their ranch they grew cattle, chickens, sheep, hogs and vegetables. The farm also housed teenagers and Bill taught them how to work and care for the animals. Food was always plentiful and they had many weekends of dinner guests. Bill loved homemade ice cream and could eat many bowls a day.
They raised their four children on the ranch until Bill was summoned to Fresno in 1960 to build machines for a fig plant. There he was back to his inventions and building which he loved.
Bill loved Santa Rosa and during his Fresno job he worked on developing "Ahl Land and Development Co." of Santa Rosa. He developed the land across from Howarth Park and built 104 apartment units on Summerfield Road. Bill was the owner/manager. He also developed the old family ranch in Bennett Valley, "Ahl Estates" and his former home property on Hunter Lane. He continued managing the 104 Apartments into his 80's.
Bill never quite retired. He was always doing projects like welding wrought iron fencing for his home and for his daughters and son. He loved keeping busy.
The family would like to thank Bill's caregiver Delores Rodriguez for her 10 years of loving, loyal, faithful care. She has been not only Bill and Marsha's caregiver, guide, and cook but a great friend. We also would like to thank Tammy Rodriguez, Joanna Miranda, and Linda Marez.
Bill was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Marsha and is survived by his children, Sonya Bradford, John Ahl and his wife Kim, Jackie Eckhaus and her husband Mark, Cindy Houck and her husband Tom, as well as their grandchildren, Debbie, Cheri, Lisa, Renee, Denise, Jessica, John, Jennifer, Brianna, Jordyn, Caytlin, Nathan, Taylor, Paige, Ryan, and Alexandra: Great grandchildren, Jeremy, Sonya, Jon Jon, Mikey, Melissa, Joshua, Brad, Hunter, Madalynn, Jacob, William, Carson, Tannis, Presley, Jordan Jaylee, and many nieces and nephews.
A grave side service will be held at Fresno Memorial Gardens on Saturday August 31, 2013 at 11:00 A.M.
In lieu of flowers, please send all donations to the Nancy Hinds Hospice, Fresno.