WILLIAM MYRON KECK II December 16, 1941 – May 7, 2014 William Myron Keck II passed away in his Los Angeles home on May 7, 2014 with his wife by his side. He was 72. He was the grandson of William Myron Keck, the founder of Superior Oil Company. Born at California Hospital in downtown Los Angeles to William Matthew Keck and Marie Elizabeth Osborne in 1941, Bill was a true native southern Californian, growing up in Beverly Hills. He often fondly recalled going to the Beverly Hills dancing school and having Fred Astaire's daughter as his partner often stepping on her toes and getting kicked in the shins. His childhood friends were...
WILLIAM MYRON KECK II
December 16, 1941 – May 7, 2014
William Myron Keck II passed away in his Los Angeles home on May 7, 2014 with his wife by his side. He was 72. He was the grandson of William Myron Keck, the founder of Superior Oil Company.
Born at California Hospital in downtown Los Angeles to William Matthew Keck and Marie Elizabeth Osborne in 1941, Bill was a true native southern Californian, growing up in Beverly Hills. He often fondly recalled going to the Beverly Hills dancing school and having Fred Astaire's daughter as his partner often stepping on her toes and getting kicked in the shins. His childhood friends were the children of the actors of the golden age of Hollywood. He attended Black Fox Military Academy in what is now the Hancock Park area and learned to appreciate marching, drills, and started lifelong friendships.
He moved north to attend Menlo College, but academics were not his passion, rather, reading novels, and detailing his favorite cars for dates. Returning south, his father dragged him into Norman Topping's office, the then President of the University of Southern California, and a very good friend of "W.M." as Bill's grandfather was called. Much to everyone's delight, Bill took to USC and finished his undergraduate education receiving a Bachelor of Science in Finance in 1964, then continuing on to earn a Master's Degree in Business Administration in 1966.
Bill began his professional career in banking as an assistant cashier at United California Bank on Wilshire Boulevard, where he worked from 1966 to 1971. When Bill's father passed away, the running of Coalinga Corporation fell to him as the only child.
Bill's father named the company after the city of Coalinga, for coaling station "A" located in the Tehachapi Mountains where the train tracks brought in the black coal filled flatbeds. It was there that Bill's grandfather started the beginnings of what would become the Superior Oil Company in 1921.
As President of Coalinga, Bill continued the oil and gas production projects that his father had started, adding more, and then winding everything down over the years into passive management, and creating a private trust company.
The W.M.Keck Foundation was formed in 1958 by "W.M." his grandfather from trusts that were established five years prior. Bill joined the W.M. Keck Foundation Board in 1964 as a Director and Member and served fifty years as a Vice President. Over this tenure, he served on the Executive, Medical, Liberal Arts, and Audit Committees. His service on the Board never strayed from the deeply ingrained ethic and convictions of his grandfather in the beauty of technology and engineering. He was particularly proud of the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, and the inception funding of "Sesame Street."
Bill also became the President of the W.M. Keck, Jr. Foundation upon his father's passing. The W.M. Keck, Jr. Foundation was also established in November of 1958 by the same trusts that "W.M." named for his heirs, and several southern California institutions.
He also served on the University of Southern California's Board of Directors beginning in 1979, and grew into the unique position of bolstering government funding for science and technology centers and affiliations for USC using his contacts in Washington D.C. to catapult the University's federal funding, serving on the Executive Committee and the Public Affairs, Development and Academic Affairs Committees. In his life, Bill personally knew five of the total eleven Presidents of USC, its history, strengths and weaknesses and worked them for the best benefit possible. He became a Life Trustee in 2002, but was brought back in again as a Voting Trustee during the last Presidential succession, finally resigning on June 3, 2011, ending his thirty-two years of faithful service.
Bill also served on the Boards of Good Samaritan Hospital, Big Brothers of Los Angeles, The Harvard-Westlake School, and the Dole Foundation for Employment of Persons with Disabilities. His activities in Washington allowed him to befriend many great U.S. Senators and Congressmen across party lines, Cabinet members, and a few Presidents.
Up until his death, Bill remained on the Harvey Mudd College Board, and on the Board of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington D.C. for which he held an especial affinity and deep commitment.
Bill was also a member of the Los Angeles Country Club, California Club, Beach Club, and El Dorado Country Club in Palm Desert.
Bill's passion for reading never waned, and his love for technology never diminished. The advent of smart phones and tablets in the last five years brought out the excitement of a little kid, calling them his "machines". He even took to gaming on them, especially Solitaire, Tetris and most recently Bubble Explode. He loved the e-book capabilities, including audio books so that he could listen while playing.
He will be always remembered for his quick and pointed wit, sharp intellect, flawless recollection of history, people, places and events, and his exquisite taste in all things elegant and beautiful. His taste was 'old school' classic, which was perfected by his knack of understanding scope and scale in anything he put together. His pointed sense of humor caught people off guard, always hitting the target. He could be your staunch advocate or blunt realist taking no prisoners. And yet he was generous to a fault and fiercely loyal. His deep sense of privacy to the point of exclusion was almost always misunderstood. And Bill had the uncanny ability to predict outcomes given his multidimensional thinking.
In the end, Bill attained the simple and peaceful life he longed for and found true loyalty, love and devotion within those whom he held close.
He will be desperately missed by those who sought his counsel.
Bill leaves behind his beloved wife, Nicole, and his three sons, William, Theodore and Stephen, and Stephen's fiancée Caroline Fisher, and his two cats Winston and Bentley who thought he was the cat's meow!
The Funeral Mass is scheduled for Thursday May 15, 2014 at 2 p.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Midnight Mission, attn. Mr. Clancy Imislund at 601 S. Pedro Street, Los Angeles, C.A. 90014 tel. (213) 624-9285 ext. 1023. All other inquiries should be directed to Coalinga Corporation, 12575 Beatrice Street, Los Angeles, C.A. 90066, tel. (310) 578 – 5900.