After a brief illness and surrounded by his loving family, William J. Letson Sr. peacefully passed from this earth on March 14, 2013. Born in Long Branch, N.J. to Laura and James Letson, Bill enlisted in the Army in 1944, serving with the 1st Calvary in the Philippines and Japan.
After the war he worked for the U.S. Signal Corps Engineering Lab in Fort Monmouth, N.J. where he met the love of his life, Violet D. Connett. Violet and William married in ‘52, and shortly thereafter brought Lori, Billy and Linda into the world. The young family adventurously moved west in ‘61 and relocated to Paso Robles when Bill took a job at Camp Roberts. In ‘64, Bill accepted a Program Manager position with Vandenberg A.F.B Space and Missile Test Center and the family settled in Lompoc for the next 18 years.
Bill retired from Federal employment in ‘81. They moved to Santa Barbara for several years of semi-retirement enjoying travel and time off. They often reminisced about their early California experiences in SLO County, and decided to settle ‘for good’ in heavenly Avila Valley in ‘99. William would often say that his three most precious possessions were his wonderful wife, his kids and his little brown dog.
A favorite expression of his was “a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet”. Everyone he met and every new experience he lived was interesting and precious to him. At the end, he was completely grateful for having led such a rich and wonderful life. Violet liked to refer to him as her “Admirable Man” and over the years often shared the following poem with family:
An Admirable Man
If a man is honest with others and with himself…• If he receives gratefully
and gives quietly…• If he is gentle enough to feel and strong enough to show
his feelings…• If he is slow to see faults of others but quick to discover their
goodness…• If he is cheerful in difficult times and modest in success…• If he
does his best to be true to his beliefs…
Then he is truly an admirable man.