After a short illness, early on the morning of Oct. 22, 2013, William Dixon "Bill" Mach died in his sleep, at his Brookings home, in the company of Claudia, his wife of 61 years, and two of his children.
Bill was born near Watonga, Okla., on Feb. 16, 1932, to William F.G. and Edith A. Mach, the oldest of three children.
The family moved to Southern California when Bill was young.
He attended schools in Compton and Pomona, Calif., graduating from Pomona High School in 1950, where he was a member of the varsity football team and was elected national president of the Key Club in 1949.
Bill had a big year in 1952. He married his high school sweetheart, Claudia Reaver, in January, graduated from Mount San Antonio Community College with an associate degree in June, saw his son born in October, and then was drafted into the U.S. Army by Christmas.
Bill served as a military policeman in Korea during 1953 and 1954. He said the high point of his Army career was being assigned to guard the door of Marilyn Monroe's dressing room during a stop on her 1954 USO tour in Korea.
After leaving the Army, Bill returned to Pomona and worked for a variety of industrial manufacturing companies as a design engineer, primarily in aerospace and industrial water treatment around Southern California. He and Claudia rounded out their family with three more children by 1961. After their children had graduated from high school in the 1970s, Bill and Claudia moved to Leaburg, then Carefree, Ariz., and finally, back to Salem, before they retired to the Brookings area in 2002.
Bill was a devoted father, always ready to help with kids' homework, teach or play sports, attend sports events, and go hiking, camping, and fishing in the mountains and deserts of Southern California and further afield. The family made summer vacation trips to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, New Mexico, and even Alaska. Bill also was a dedicated volunteer for the Old Baldy Council of the Boy Scouts of America and earned several honors for his work.
He enjoyed being a "host father" to four European exchange students, which increased his interest in the Mach family genealogy in Germany. Bill and Claudia made several research trips to Europe in an effort to complete a written family history, which has since been sent to current family members. In recent years, Bill was active with the South Coast Regional Aircraft Modelers, building and flying radio-controlled aircraft - a hobby he enjoyed periodically since the 1960s.
He is survived by his wife Claudia; his son and daughter-in-law Jeff and Dawn Mach of Salem; daughter and son-in-law Leslie Keeney and Lewis Dyer of Boise, Idaho; daughter and partner Susan Mach and Kathy DiStefano, of Upland, Calif.; daughter and son-in-law Erica and Charles Carlson of Eureka, Calif.; sister Leola Baer of Pacific Palisades, Calif. Also surviving are four grandchildren, a great-grandchild, three nephews and a niece.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and his younger brother Ivan.
There will be no memorial service, at his request.
Submitted by the family.