It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our Husband, Father and Poppy, Bill Duff. Bill passed on the morning of March 2, 2021 at home with his wife of 47 years, Paula, lovingly holding his hand. He passed in the light of a beautiful day, window open and the birds singing. The magnificent sunset later that evening was a sure sign from God that he had safely arrived in Heaven.
Bill was born on December 2, 1948 in Alameda, California to Arthur Faulds Duff and Jessie Margaret Shea, and was the youngest of four children. He spent his early childhood in Crockett, California moving to American Canyon and then to Napa at the age of 12, where he lived for the remainder of his life. He graduated from Napa High School in 1966 and began work at Mare Island Naval Shipyard.
Bill then volunteered for the draft in 1968 and proudly served in the United States Army. He served in Vietnam and earned the Rank of Sergeant, E-5 after only 9 months from joining the Army. Bill was assigned to the Big Red One Infantry Division in Vietnam. Their slogan, "no mission impossible, no sacrifice to great". Bill went on to earn the Bronze Star, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and Sharpshooter (Rifle). He always said he was most proud of his Combat Infantry Badge.
Bill suffered and passed from Prostate Cancer brought on by exposure to Agent Orange during his time in Vietnam. He and so many others were exposed to this harmful chemical used to defoliate the jungle during the war and it is heartbreaking. He was instrumental in helping other veterans fill out their paperwork to file claims for the disability benefits they were entitled to. It was a difficult process, and daunting for some, and he was always more than happy to help them with the process.
After his return to the States he enrolled at the Napa Junior College where he received his AA degree, while working at Kaiser Steel. During this time, he met his future wife, Paula Savage. Love soon blossomed, and the two were married in June of 1973. In the early years of his marriage he attended night classes at Golden Gate University to obtain his Bachelor's degree and then later went to St. Mary's College where he obtained his Master's degree in Business Administration.
Bill had a long "sweet" career working for C & H Sugar Company. He started at the warehouse in Crockett, California sweeping the floors, cleaning the sugar tanks and driving forklifts and moved his way up the ranks of many positions to finally become Vice President, Consumer Products West, a position he held for the last 20 years of his career. He was so proud to work for C & H Sugar, a company man through and through, and he was with the company for a total of 41 years. He always joked "that he couldn't hold down a job". He was very admired by his peers and formed many wonderful friendships during his years in the Consumer Products Goods Industry. Bill was President of the Sales Managers Club of San Francisco in 1995 and is an Honorlite within the Illuminators Organization.
Bill and Paula created a beautiful family together and that has always been his greatest joy! Daughter Katie was born in 1979 and Daughter, Andrea followed in 1982. In addition to his wife and daughters, Bill is survived by four wonderful Grandchildren, who consider Pop their hero and their "silly goose"; Sophia Violetta Lattanzi and William James Lattanzi (Draper, Utah) and Dotty Duff Keith and Nellie May Duff Keith (Napa, California). Additionally, Son-in-laws Dominic Lattanzi and Ryan Keith. He is also survived by his siblings, Arthur Duff (LeeDell) of Italy, Dan Duff (Kim) of Ohio and Judy Benefiel of Florida, numerous nieces and nephews, his cat Gracie who he affectionately called "Chief of Security", as well as so many wonderful friends. He was predeceased by his parents, Arthur Duff, Jessie King and step mother, Shirley Duff.
Together Bill and Paula fell in love with the small northern California community of McCloud at the base of Mt. Shasta. It was always their dream to build a second home there, and they made that dream come true in 2004. McCloud was a magical place for the entire family. The cabin was a special place where their whole family could gather and enjoy nature's beauty together. Many wonderful memories were created there over the years, not only with family, but with friends, as well. Everyone was welcome!
Bill was truly a wonderful man that loved his family immensely, and it showed in everything he did. He loved them unconditionally and the feeling was mutual as he was loved dearly by them in return. He was their protector, provider, cheerleader, supporter and best friend. His daughters and grandchildren were the light of his life, and there wasn't a thing he wouldn't do for them. Bill was loved and admired by many and he earned that love and admiration each and every day through the kindness he showed and the way he treated each and every person he came into contact with. His generosity was unmatched and his legacy will live on through all the lives he touched. Bill was truly a class act until the very end. Always thinking of others and making sure everyone was taken care of. Bill will be missed dearly. We thank him for leaving the world a better place. For all of you that knew and loved Bill and have supported him and his family over the years, we give our heartfelt thanks.
In Bill's honor please hold your family tight, tell them you love them every chance you get and please join us in raising a class of your favorite beverage. In addition, he would love it if you would take your loved ones out to a nice dinner when the pandemic is all over! For those wishing to make a donation in Bill's name, please make a donation to a charity of your choice that would benefit those less fortunate, those suffering an illness, or those that cannot speak for themselves.
Due to the pandemic the family will be holding a private service. A celebration of Bill's life will be planned at a future date, when safety allows. Thank you all for being a part of Bill's wonderful life!
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Michael Duff, please visit our floral store.