William Whitt Ashby was born on April 5th, 1935, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. He was the oldest of two sons born to George Wilson and Elnora Daisy (Whitt) Ashby. He graduated from Inglewood High School in 1954, a football star along with his brother, Dick, and friends, Wayne Slaven and Julio Guiverra. Bill married Doralee Anderson on July 8th, 1961, at Inglewood Christian Church. They are proud parents of three sons: Christopher Darrin Ashby (July 22, 1967), Jeffrey Brian Ashby (October 17, 1968), and William Devon Ashby (October 10, 1977). Bill began working for Douglas Aircraft Company, at their El Segundo Plant, around 1950 at...
William Whitt Ashby was born on April 5th, 1935, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. He was the oldest of two sons born to George Wilson and Elnora Daisy (Whitt) Ashby. He graduated from Inglewood High School in 1954, a football star along with his brother, Dick, and friends, Wayne Slaven and Julio Guiverra.
Bill married Doralee Anderson on July 8th, 1961, at Inglewood Christian Church. They are proud parents of three sons: Christopher Darrin Ashby (July 22, 1967), Jeffrey Brian Ashby (October 17, 1968), and William Devon Ashby (October 10, 1977).
Bill began working for Douglas Aircraft Company, at their El Segundo Plant, around 1950 at the age of 15 during the summer months of his school vacation, at a wage of $.99 an hour. In 1951 he was hired as a Material Warehouseman and after four months he was transferred to 'Plant 3' across the street where he was involved with the electronic assembly of aircraft parts being constructed there.
After only eight months, he was promoted to work back in engineering as a Tool Designer. He quit two years later and went to work for North American Aviation as a Mechanical Engineer. Bill worked on such historical aircraft as the revolutionary B-70 Valkyrie Mach-3 strategic bomber, as well as the XF-108 Rapier, a proposed design for a long-range, high speed interceptor aircraft.
At about age 20, Bill was called to work for Ford Motor Company and was involved in the designing for the ground support system of the original Atlas Missile. About two months into this job, North American asked him to return to continue his work on the B-70, the XF-108 and a new program starting at that time, the X-15, an experimental rocket powered aircraft. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the 1960's, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in future spacecraft design. It still holds the world record for the fastest speed ever reached by a manned aircraft.
It was also during this time that Bill worked on the Gemini Spacecraft, the second human manned spaceflight program, with a total of 10 manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966. Bill was responsible for work on the recovery system, the design of the main crew couch door, astro sexton door and the blatting boor, and also designed the three main head rests used by the pilots when they needed to sleep. His list of credits and accomplishments in that industry is truly outstanding, and his contributions are definitely listed among the assets of our nation's aeronautics and space program.
Around 1967, Bill quit working as an engineer and started a business in construction along with his brother, Richard Kent Ashby. This move was the beginning of an illustrious career as a major Southern California builder and land developer that spanned over 40 years. As a nationally celebrated visionary in real estate development his accomplishments include the conception, planning, funding and development of over 20,000 homes, dozens of communities complete with schools, post offices, fire and police departments, utility facilities, commercial and recreational and other public facilities. Some of those projects include: Harbour Coves (300 luxury homes in a waterfront community), Arch Beach Heights Water Reservoir, the Orange County Civic Center, the highway cloverleaf at Los Angeles International Airport, Fashion Knolls (a 56 unit condominium), Cerro Verde (46 units), Fashion Walk (90 unit condominium), Southridge Village (at its time one of the largest, single, planned residential communities in the United States, including 10,000 homes, condominiums, green-belt areas, several city and community parks, community recreation buildings, small to sub-regional shopping malls, 7 schools, a large day-care center, police and fire stations and a county flood control channel all built within manicured and landscaped walls in the city of Fontana, California), and the Chino Hills Specific Plan (total land planning and engineering), in which Bill was instrumental in enabling the county of San Bernardino to make a master plan for future developments, and as a result of organizing over 200 major property owners and assistance in bringing together county and state agencies necessary to accomplish the Chino Hills Specific Plan, Bill's company was honored with the Building Industry Association's award for "Builder of the Year" in October of 1979.
William Ashby was a true visionary and leader whose methodical and innovative thinking and planning combined with his determination, drive and contagious enthusiasm, and his belief in giving more than 100% of effort to any undertaking resulted in projects that will always remain a point of pride for the cities and communities, all of his associates, his family and descendants, and will live on in memory of him.
Bill always believed in doing things 'BIG'! If he was going to do something, he did 200%, the biggest, the best, or not at all. He loved and believed in people, and was always a champion of the underdog or the impoverished. He was always overly generous, sometimes to his own detriment. Bill was an adventurer, explorer, athlete, world traveler, collector, big game hunter (with many world records), educator, leader, philosopher, visionary and creator.
He leaves a massive void in the world, and an unrepairable break in the hearts of all those who knew and loved him!
A funeral service will be held Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 11:00am at Pacific View Mortuary with a graveside service immediately following at Pacific View Memorial Park.
Reception following at his home in Coto De Caza.
Arrangements under the direction of Pacific View Memorial Park and Mortuary FD1176, Corona Del Mar, CA.