William M. Wolfe
November 14, 2015
William Wolfe, known to everyone as Bill, passed away peacefully on November 7th at the Doak Walker House at Casey’s Pond after a long illness. He was 86.
Bill was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1928, the son of Myrtle McLaren Wolfe and Max Wolfe, M.D. He attended Grosse Pointe High School where he participated in swimming, tennis, and track. After graduation in 1947, he moved west to enroll in the University of Arizona on a swimming scholarship. He graduated in 1951 with a degree in Business Administration.
He started his career in the mailroom of Arizona Blue Cross in Phoenix. In the early days of computers in the late 50s and early 60s, he became a Systems Analyst and an expert in one of the original programming languages, COBOL. He traveled nationwide consulting with other Blue Cross branches helping to convert their billing systems from manual to electronic. Over his career, he worked at Blue Cross branches in Reno, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle before finally retiring as Executive Vice President after 25 years with the company.
He was a lifelong athlete. An accomplished tennis player and long-distance runner, he completed 3 marathons. With his 6’3″ frame and ambidextrous reach, he was a formidable tennis opponent. A heart attack in his 60s prevented any more running, but he devoted himself to his health and walked for miles each week. He inspired his children with his active lifestyle. His children and grandchildren continue to enjoy tennis, hiking, and the outdoors.
Bill was a devoted father to his three children and a loving grandfather to four grandchildren. He found love again in his late 60s with Betty Bartholomew, a long-time family friend.
Bill will be remembered for his calm demeanor, great sense of humor, and his non-judgmental approach to people and life. He was a lifelong learner; always interested in science, politics, history, and the arts, and stayed informed on all current events. He was liked by everyone who knew him, and was beloved by those who knew him well.
Bill is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Libby and Joe Robbins, of Steamboat Springs, CO, daughter, Anne Wolfe, of Emeryville, CA, sister Marge Johnson, of Placerville, CA, grandchildren, Elaina Wolfe, Annie and Ben Robbins, of Steamboat Springs, CO and Christine Wolfe, of Berkeley, CA. He also leaves behind 2 nieces, Amy Newby, of Santa Fe, NM, and Nancy Degener, of Placerville, CA. He was preceded in death by son, Paul Wolfe, and nephew, Kent Newby. He leaves behind many loving friends in the Bartholomew family, Betty, Brad, Bruce, Brinton, and their families.
There will be a private celebration of his life in California at a later date.