1943 – 2019
Retired Fire Captain William D. Robertson “Bill” (Roby) passed away surrounded by his family at home in Napa County at the age of 76.
Bill was born on September 20, 1943 at the Swedish Hospital in Seattle Washington to parents William H. Robertson and Beatrice M. Robertson during World War II where his father was a Merchant Marine who ran supplies to the Allied Forces in the Pacific Theater.
After the war ended the family moved to Berkeley, California where he spent his early childhood until his family relocated to Napa, California where he attended Lincoln Elementary School, Redwood Junior High School and Napa High School where he graduated in the Class of 1961.
While growing up Bill enjoyed spending time at the Hoffman Ranch with his grandparents Bea Hoffman and Robert “Pappy” Hoffman. There he learned how to pick and dip prunes, raise cattle and helped Pappy build the dam behind the house which became a favorite swimming and fishing spot. In 1976 he was able to buy a portion of the ranch and built a home there.
As a young man, Bill was involved with FFA and DeMolay. It was at a JOBS Daughters / DeMolay dance where Bill met the love of his life, Thora Ward. They dated up until they were engaged and married on February 14, 1965.
After graduating from High School Bill enlisted in the United States Coast Guard on January 16, 1962. He worked part time for APCO until he was picked up as an Apprentice Machinist at Mare Island Naval Ship Yard in Vallejo.
After Bill and Thora were married, Bill accepted a position with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Sheriff in January of 1966 during the social unrest of the late 1960’s.
In 1969 Bill left the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office to take a job with the City of Napa Fire Department IAFF Local #3124 as a Fireman where he eventually promoted to Engineer, Fire Inspector with the Fire Prevention Bureau and Captain, a position he held until his retirement in 1998. While with the Napa Fire Department, he attended the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg Maryland
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While working for the Napa Fire Department Bill also worked for Mrs. Collins, a widow, assisting her with ranch work, tending to her horses and other jobs on his days he was off shift from the Fire Dept. Bill also re-enlisted in the Coast Guard as Reservist and served on the Pacific Coast Strike Team.
Some of his assignments with the Coast Guard were the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Alaska and the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City where he was assigned to Logistics during the Emergency Operations.
Bill was also a member of the Free and Accepted Masons Napa Valley Lodge #93 in Saint Helena and received his 50-year membership pin. Other Masonic Orders in which he affiliated included DeMolay, Shriners, York Rite, Scottish Rite, Knights Templar and others. Bill had served as the Grand Commander of the Knights Templar in 2009 and was also the Past President of the Son’s of the American Revolution.
Bill enjoyed American History and was well versed in the facts about the American Civil War. He enjoyed reading, researching and writing articles that were published as well as collecting artifacts from that time in history and received an Associate of Arts Degree in History from Napa Valley College. His other hobbies were stamp collecting, blacksmith metallurgy, listening to Blue Grass Music but most of all he loved traveling with his family to visit different historical sites throughout the United States especially the Civil War Battlefields on the East Coast. He liked it so much he and Thora bought a house back there in Sharpsburg Maryland to go with his collection.
Bill is survived by his wife of 54 years Thora Robertson, children William H. Robertson (Marilyn), Elizabeth Robertson, Robert J. Robertson (Caroline), his sister Carole Ann Mayr, granddaughter Kaitlyn Marie Robertson, and nieces and nephews.
Instead of flowers donations in his honor can be made to the following:
Shriners Children’s Hospital, the Napa City Firefighters Association. Napa Fire Explorer Post #220, or Collabria Hospice of Napa.
Services will be held 11:00 am Friday November 1, 2019 at Napa Valley Life Church 2303 Trower Avenue Napa CA 94558