I knew Bill from the Homebrew Computer club. I was the guy playing devils advocate, expounding on the virtues of the Heath bus (sometime "Benton Harbor bus") when he was hyping the S-100. Well, kinda devil's advocate. In some ways I still think the Heath version is superior to the S-100 ... But Bill had the last laugh. I still have a couple of his hand-built I/O boards in a running S-100 system, controlling one of my greenhouses. They have been running for over 33 years now, and show no signs of needing replacement. Like Bill, they were built like brick shithouses.
The fires we've been having here in Northern California have been bad. Lots of underbrush in federally mis-managed forests provide plenty of fuel, along with down-sloping winds from a rather persistent high pressure region over The Great Basin into the corresponding Low over the Pacific make for a blast-furnace effect. It's been bad. But Bill was no fool, and usually on top of things like that ... Frankly, I'm shocked that he didn't make it out.
Last time I saw him was at a Halfmoon Bay Fly-in. The first words out of his mouth were "Need any help with that Serial card?" before we settled down to the more normal "how's the wife & kids?" and his ongoing attempt to purchase my Cessna A152.
Farewell, brother. Many will miss you.
(I've dropped his family a note about this article and thread. Play nice, kids. )