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William "Big Bill" Kreutzmann, Sr
Birth: Jul. 14, 1922
San Francisco
San Francisco County
California, USA
Death: Oct. 8, 1995
Mendocino County
California, USA

A native of San Francisco, William lived most of his life in California. He served in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War, stationed in Germany.

Both his father and grandfather were physicians, so William became an attorney. He was graduated from Stanford University in 1950. William attended Hastings Law School and passed the bar exam in 1962. He practiced law in Santa Cruz, then Monterey and Mendocino, California until retirement in the early 1990s.
William was an artist in many different mediums, from stained glass to oil painting, to bonzai trees, wood and pottery.
Pearl Schwenk, his mother, inspired his love of the outdoors through camping trips. He continued the tradition with his children after his divorce from Janice Shaughnessy, camping at French Meadows in Tahoe National Forest annually.
William Kreutzmann's ashes are scattered, along with his mother's, near his beloved French Meadows in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Below is from a letter by Patricia Lacey, Bill's best friend
and 3rd wife:

Here is what I remember. I would love to know if your memory is different.Love, Patricia

Bill was born in l922 in San Francisco. One of his early memories was going with Pearl to the beach and not wanting to come home until the waves stopped.

Pearl must have been a great mom, but her husband fell in love with his nurse when Bill was around 7, maybe younger. I believe that his dad was named Henry. Anyway, Henry wanted a divorce so that he and his nurse [Clare Bernthal] could live together. She had a son [Dr. Walter Bernthal] that was older than Henry Junior.
After the divorce was final, Pearl took her part of the settlement and bought a house in Palo Alto. She did not have a lot to live on so she would do baby sitting to bring in extra money. When Henry,the dad would come to visit, Bill would not go in to see him. I think that he came very close to hating him for leaving his mother. Then
one day Dad decided that young Henry should come live with him in San Francisco. Bill really hated him for this and I think that he also began to hate Henry for being the chosen one. [young Henry did go and live with his father and step brother Walter.Bill never spoke of having an older brother.]

He adored Pearl but felt very sorry for her and very protective. He said that she had friends that she enjoyed. I think that she played bridge with friends for a social life. She also liked to camp in the Sierras. She would bravely take the two boys for a week or so at a time in the summers to French Meadows or to Clear Lake. She even bought
some vacation property at Clear Lake. Bill thought that this was a poor investment and he thought that Clear Lake was tacky.[He convinced her to sell.] He loved the time that they spent in the Sierras. Pearl liked to read and the boys were given the freedom to explore. They also spent some fun time in Marin [possibly Petaluma, Sonoma Co.] at a farm of some sort. The family that owned the farm raised chickens(?) or something that fascinated Bill.

When Bill got to Pali High [Palo Alto High School], he became the captain of the football team and president of his senior class. He LOVED high school.
He received a scholarship to Stanford, but after his first year, he enlisted in the Air Force because he didnít want to be drafted. He was probably also patriotic if I know Bill. He had fallen in love with Janice who was the coachís [Clark D. Shaughnessy] daughter. They married before he was sent to Germany. When the war was over and he was sent home, Janice surprised him by driving to New York and meeting his ship at the harbor. He looked out over the sea of womenís faces and spotted her! It was one of the highs of his life. He was very in love with her. They drove back to Palo Alto and had to move in with her parents and grandmother because of the housing shortage and lack of money. Her dad was seldom home.
The mother and grandmother were conservative Christians and
were not much fun.
Janice became pregnant pretty soon after Billís return from the service. The living situation with the in-laws must have been pretty unbearable. Bill found a little house that they could afford and moved Janice and baby Billy into it as soon as possible.

After Bill graduated from Stanford, he took a job at the Emporium in San Francisco. He worked in the stationery department. One day he chased and caught a man who had stolen a typewriter. The store made him a manager after this. He enjoyed working at the Emporium.
After his experience at the Emporium, he felt that he could run a stationery store of his own. I did not know until Bobís memorial service that Bob [Bill's younger brother Robert Kreutzmann] was a part owner in it. He became active in the local merchantís association. He was able to be very creative with window displays.
He won an award for a window in which a mannequin had written a suicide note on some of their most expensive stationery and had shot himself.........the
gun was on the desk in the mannequinís hand.

I donít know when Pearl died. She had been suffering with Parkinsonís for many years. Janice and Bill had tried to care for Pearl for awhile, but her care became too great and she was taken to a home to live with four other ladies who needed care. [Janice and Bill lived in the Palo Alto house until the divorce. He had recorded his son's rock group the Warlocks in this living room but, not knowing the future, re-recorded over it.-mk]

Janice urged Bill to get a law degree and since he had become bored with the store, he entered Hastings Law School and began the commute after work each day to San Francisco. He would come home late in the evening and study most of the night. The marriage suffered. [Divorced ABT 1963]
He continued with Hastings and finally passed the Bar. This
was another really big moment, when he received word that he had passed.

He had met Gale [Anderson, nee Hartley] through the lending library that he had developed as part of the stationery store. When her marriage ended they began to date. He fell in love with her. The marriage with Gale was a good one.
(I never heard him say anything about her that was less than complimentary. His heart was broken when she died [in 1981].)

[Gale and Bill were married in 1966.]
They moved to Santa Cruz where he opened an office in an old bakery in the downtown area. He made the door for the office and thoroughly enjoyed designing and executing the layout. I think that he enjoyed creating his law offices more that he enjoyed practicing law. His law partner was a man in a wheelchair (I have forgotten his name) who must have really loved Bill. He and his wife came to visit us
when we lived in Ukiah. Bill had a secretary, [Terry] who also idolized him. Terry and her husband came to visit us when we lived at Raamwood [Mendocino Co.].

After Santa Cruz, they moved to Empire Grade [after that, they lived on Branciforte] and from there to Carmel. Bill practiced law in Monterey. He was scornful of lawyers who were primarily interested in making money. He tried to help people who didnít have much money and didnít know their way around the legal system. He was definitely a champion for the underdog. [He started a restaurant in Seaside called Wings and Things and hired at-risk youth. One item on the menu was squid.-mk]

I donít know when Janice and Marcia [daughter] moved to Mississippi, but I know that Bill agonized over being separated from Marcia. Billy[son] had left home when he around l8 (?). [After the move to Mississippi, each summer Bill's daughter went back to California for a visit. The scheduled events included the Santa Cruz Boardwalk roller coaster, a visit with family in Palo Alto, and a Grateful Dead concert, the first one being at the Fillmore West in 1968-9]
Bill worried about him playing his drums to small audiences in Palo Alto. I imagine that he went to hear him at every opportunity. He did love his kids. He also delighted in Kendra and Julie [step-daughters] and later in Shelley [daughter-in-law].
When Gale became too weak to walk down to the beach because of her asthma, he built a cart that he could pull and that she could ride in. He also invented the roller blade skate, but never got his model to work quite right. I am surprised that he didnít break his neck trying them out.

Both he and Gale had health problems. He probably drank and ate too much. He did love a party. He had more than one operation for his diverticulitis. He also developed a heart problem. Eventually he had to have the mitral valve in his heart replaced. This was after we were married [1982].

I awoke one night not long after we had started dating to music from outside my window. I was on the second floor at Raamwood [ranch in Mendocino Co.]. He had driven up and was parked under my window playing Love Duets from Puccini
on his carís tape player. He had probably just come from the Booneville bar. He was irresistible.

He also went to battle with Jerry Philbrick, my redneck neighbor, who was refusing to get his cattle off our land at Raamwood. Bill marched up to Jerryís house one day with a threat to sue him if he didnít get his cows moved.

I prayed that Jerry would not shoot him.

The battle went on for three or four years. Jerry moved his cattle and then cut our water line. Then they fought over water rights. I think that Bill thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. Bill won.
We had wonderful parties at Raamwood. Bill was the acknowledged king of the frogs. Guests loved going to the pond at night to see how he could make all of the frogs stop croaking. There were hundreds of frogs and there would be dead silence for a minute or so after he had commanded that they be quiet. It was very impressive.
He built benches and fire circles and trails through the woods. He created sacred spaces in redwood rings. We had corn fertilizing ceremonies and croquet parties and barbecues. We built a bath house which he tiled and a cabin out of an old carriage shed. We sat on the porch and watched the fog come across the meadow in the evenings and watched the vultures dry their wings on the fence posts in the mornings. I believe that Raamwood was a dream come true for Bill.

Then we moved to a mountain that only a 4-wheel drive could climb. We lived in a redwood ring during the summer that we built our cabin. [an A-frame.]
We could see the ocean from our deck even though we were fifteen miles inland. Our his and her toilets were buckets under trees. I bathed in a 50 gallon trash can with water that was heated during the day in a PVC black pipe. It was primitive but fun.
Our second year there, Bill began having trouble getting enough breath. Tests showed that he needed a new heart valve. The operation was a success but I was afraid to continue living so isolated with no phone. We moved to a neighborhood in Ukiah. Bill hated having neighbors, so we moved to a house in Gualala with an ocean view on the side of a steep hill. He was happy again. Then my mother became very ill so he said ďLetís move to Texas and take care of herĒ. We did and it nearly killed us both. After she died, we moved back to California to Mendocino where Bill died three years later.
Before Big Bill died, Billy treated us to a lovely trip to Hawaii and to Alaska. The last three years of his life were sad ones. He was losing his memory and he was feeling very dependent on me, both of which he hated, but he never lost his sweet disposition and his loving heart.
--Written by Patricia Lacey, edited by Marcialyn Kreutzmann.
Family links: 
  Henry Adolf Robert Kreutzmann (1890 - 1953)
  Pearl Schwenk Kreutzmann (1895 - 1959)
  Janice Beryl Shaughnessy (1923 - 1991)
  Gale Marshall Hartley Kreutzmann (1918 - 1981)*
  Henry Joseph Kreutzmann (1921 - 2009)*
  William Kreutzmann (1922 - 1995)
  Robert Adolf Kreutzmann (1925 - 2000)*
*Calculated relationship
Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Specifically: Ashes scattered on Mt Pearl
Created by: Marcialyn
Record added: Dec 02, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 62460056
William Big Bill Kreutzmann, Sr
Added by: Marcialyn
William Big Bill Kreutzmann, Sr
Added by: Marcialyn
William Big Bill Kreutzmann, Sr
Added by: Marcialyn
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World War II. Thanks for your service.
- Gerald "Jerry" Hobson
 Added: Aug. 14, 2011
You were probably the only attorney in the world whose only framed photo on your desk was of me. Let us bray together.
- Condito the donkey
 Added: Jul. 28, 2011
This page is sponsored by: Marcialyn

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