Bill was born October 9, 1926 in Los Angeles, Cal-ifornia to Oren Leroy Wait and Elizabeth May Moor. He attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles and the University of Southern Calif. and Cal State Northridge. He married Betty June Thompson on February 6, 1952 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The marriage was later solemnized in the Mesa Arizona Temple on February 26, 1954.
Bill is survived by his wife, Betty June Thompson Wait; daughters, Laurene (Chris) Brown, Denise (Allen) Rice, Karen (Steven) Shumway and Alona (David) Boberg; sons, Steven William (Connie) Wait and Mark Thompson (Marla) Wait; brother, Owen Leon Wait; 23 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by an infant daughter, Alicia and his parents, Oren Leroy and Elizabeth May Wait; in-laws, Cordon and Claudia Thompson.
Bill served his country in World War II in the Navy for four years in the South Pacific. Upon returning home to Los Angeles, California he worked for nine years as an L.A. City Fireman. It was during this time after the war and fighting fires that Bill was impressed to find the truth. He was drawn to the library in L.A. where The Book of Mormon came to his mind and he pulled it from the shelf and received the confirmation of the spirit when he read, "I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents...". He knew and he sought further teachings, developed faith, went to church, met Betty who welcomed him and later married him and he was eventually baptized on November 1, 1952. He was always true and faithful to that testimony that The Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ and truly the word of God. Now with a thirst for knowledge he went back to school and that eventually lead to a degree from U.S.C. With a growing young family and a diploma in business in hand he left firefighting to teach elementary school. He found excitement in preparing daily for that new experience of sixth grade minds. He later went on to teach high school and was then an administrator and school superintendent in Paradise, Calif. During the span of thirty years Bill was a dynamic educator with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Institute of Religion and Seminary Programs. He was also a popular speaker at many B.Y.U. Education Weeks and Know Your Religion Series. Many lives were also touched by his numerous Covenant recordings, particularly after his sufferings through clinical depression and being blessed to heal enough to talk, teach and help heal others. Even today Bill's family is amazed by the touching cards and letters received from countless brothers and sisters in the gospel who share secrets of how his words, his humor, his insight, lifted, taught and comforted. Bill served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a stake missionary, bishop's counselor, stake high council, bishop and home teacher. Bill often taught and looked forward to the sweet reunion of family and friends in that paradise he now is welcomed to by his daughter Alicia, his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and Betty's parents, all who were his heroes and teachers as he grew up in boyhood and matured in the gospel as a young man. It is these dearly departed who welcome Bill home and whom he spoke of in touching stories to teach that families are eternal and that is what life is really all about. Bill's sense of humor will be missed, as will his loving touch as he held hands with his eternal companion and his smile with loving awe at the sight of his new young great-grandchildren. Dad, you fought the good fight, you endured much, you taught us well! We Know, You Knew! May the Lord bless us to be faithful to the end. So we may hear from the Lord, as surely you have, "Well Done Thou Good And Faithful Servant."
Funeral services will be held Monday, March 19, 2001 at 11 a.m. at the Oxford Ward Chapel, 4586 West 3960 South. The family will receive friends the day of the service from 10-10:45 a.m. at the Ward.
Interment: Valley View Memorial Park. Funeral Directors: Valley View Funeral Home.