William Edward Becher
1921 — 2014
William (“Bill”) Becher died peacefully at Country Living in Tehachapi at the age of 93, after a rich and varied life.
Born in Tonawanda, N.Y., he left home to enlist in the Army in 1940. Rising through the ranks, he became a field artillery battery commander with the rank of captain by 1944. At Utah Beach when the Allies invaded Normandy, he survived the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Bastogne, and the breaching of the Siegfried Line, but lost his only brother in the war.
After the war he pursued a career in advertising, radio, and television in New York City, working as a director and producer shows like Beat the Clock. In his spare time he was a commercial photographer and an amateur actor. He clowned for the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus in Madison Square Garden.
Later he worked in the electronics and instrumentation business as a technical writer and marketing manager. Moving to the west coast to serve as an international marketing director he traveled widely, visiting Australia, Japan, South America, India and Europe.
In 1981 he retired from the aerospace industry and moved to Tehachapi where he realized his passion for flying as a flight instructor and glider tow plane pilot.
Serving on the Tehachapi Airport Commission he also taught aviation ground school at Bakersfield College. A squadron commander for the Civil Air Patrol in Tehachapi, he was a search and rescue pilot and instructor. His articles appeared in Soaring Magazine. None of the greater than 6,000 hours he spent in the air as a pilot and instructor counted against his lifetime he would say.
Retired from flying, he rebuilt computers and provided them to members of the community who couldn’t afford new ones.
He is survived by his son, William Becher Jr.; his daughter-in-law, Jane Becher; and his good friend, Helen Fram.
His family thanks the owners and staff of Country Living for their care and compassion during the last months of his life. Pursuant to his wishes, his ashes will be scattered at sea from an airplane.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Wood Family Funeral Service Inc. For condolences please visit woodmortuary.net.