William Frank Monroe, 68, passed from this life on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at Renown Hospital in Reno, Nevada, with his family by his side.
Bill was born April 24, 1950, in Glendale. He was the older of two children born to Bill and Bobby Monroe, his sister, Anne, three years younger than he.
He grew up in Southern California in the ’50s and ’60s surrounded by the Southern California culture of surfing, the Beach Boys, rock and roll, hot rod racing and cars. He embraced all of these, but the one that captured his heart the most was cars.
As a young child he learned to play the accordion. Then later in his teen years, he taught himself how to play the drums. Before he owned a drum set he would substitute pan lids suspended from his bedroom ceiling for cymbals, stacked books for drums, pounding away much to the dismay of his parents.
He and some friends formed a band in high school, with him being the drummer. Practicing in one of their garages, they became quite good, getting hired for high school dances and college frat parties, winning a battle of the bands contest sponsored by Casey Kasem, the famous radio DJ, and receiving a trophy from him. The band even cut a couple of 45 rpm records.
Graduating from Edgewood High School in 1968, he then enrolled at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, for approximately 1.5 years before being drafted into the Army in 1970. He was sent to Fort Ord, for basic training before being shipped overseas to Vietnam, where he spent one year. While in Vietnam he served in the 29th Infantry, ground patrol before getting an assignment as a door gunner on a helicopter. He was honorably discharged in 1972.
After being discharged from the Army, he decided to leave city life behind and moved to Plumas County, settling in Quincy in 1973. He had many extended family members already living in the area. Bill enrolled in a welding class at Feather River College and soon discovered he had a talent for welding, earning a welding certificate. It was the start of what would become his life’s work.
He moved back down to Southern California in late 1973 to put his welding skills to use in production welding work. While working as a welder at a boat trailer factory, he met and married the love of his life, Elise Eaton, in August 1974. The young couple moved back up to Plumas County settling in Greenville, where they lived for 10 years. During that time, Bill worked at a gold mine outside of Quincy for two years before getting hired as a millwright at Louisiana Pacific in Crescent Mills. He worked there for seven years before the mill shut down for good. Bill and his wife then bought a home in Meadow Valley, after he was hired as a millwright at Sierra Pacific Industries in Quincy where he worked for over 30 years until his retirement in 2013.
He and Elise had two sons, Neil and Kevin. Bill’s family meant everything to him. They took many family vacations all over the Western United States. He enjoyed the great outdoors, camping, fishing, boating, canoeing and backpacking.
Bill’s talents were many and centered around his innate ability to think and visualize things in 3-D, that he would then build, doing the calculations in his head, all of this with no written plans for reference. He was a builder, a fixer, a tinkerer. He could diagnose and fix most anything. He thoroughly enjoyed working in his beloved garage and on warm summer days could often be heard playing his favorite ’60s rock n’ roll songs at full volume.
Even in retirement, Bill was never one to sit idle. He had to be busy, always working on some project or another. He designed and built many things: lumber racks for friends’ trucks, sheds, porches, fences, railings, a greenhouse, carports, a fort and a swing set. More than anything else, he was always working on cars.
Bill was a car guy through and through and enjoyed buying, modifying, restoring and working on classic cars his entire life. He had a fondness for buying unusual vehicles having owned a chopped Volkswagen dune buggy and a 1953 Dodge Power Wagon army truck.
His pride and joy however, were the 1962 Ford Thunderbird and 1965 Ford Falcon convertibles that he owned. The Falcon held a special place in his heart as he built the entire car from the ground up from a junked and rusted cast-off. He, along with his sons, worked for years on the car, rebuilding the engine, the transmission, painting it a gorgeous blue, making it exactly how he wanted it, fulfilling his dream of building a hot rod. On sunny, warm days, he could be seen driving around town in it. You couldn’t miss its distinctive sound. Over the years, he participated in car shows around the county and won many trophies.
His sense of humor was well known by those who loved him. He could never pass up an opportunity to tease, tell jokes and generally make fun of everyday life. He loved to make people laugh.
He was also very artistic, drawing quite well and excelling at caricature likenesses of people and things.
Bill was a good, decent, hard working man his entire life. He had many lifelong friends whom he always enjoyed spending time with. He loved his country and was very patriotic, always hanging two flags on his garage on appropriate holidays. He was devoted to his family above all else.
Bill was preceded in death by his sister, Anne, his mother, Bobby, and his father, Willard Monroe.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Elise, of Meadow Valley, his sons, Neil and Kevin, many cousins and several nieces.
Graveside services will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. at the Meadow Valley Cemetery. All are welcome. A potluck reception will be held immediately following at the Meadow Valley Community Church Fellowship Hall.