William John Symes passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on July 23, 2013. It was the 68th anniversary of Bill’s wedding to his beloved wife Val, who predeceased him in December.
Bill was born December 24, 1920, in Winnipeg, Canada, the only child of John Charles and Margaret Clark Symes. He moved with his family in 1922 to Pasadena, California, where he grew up to become student body president and captain of the football team at South Pasadena High School. Bill went on to Stanford University, where he played on the 1941 winning Rose Bowl team. Upon graduation Bill enlisted with the 8th Air Force based in England. When the war in Europe ended, Bill came home to marry Val July 23, 1945, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
The couple returned to California where Bill began his career, first in radio and TV broadcasting and later joining his father Jack in the Symes Cadillac dealership in Pasadena. The growing Symes family made its home in Arcadia and spent summers in Newport Beach, where they moved permanently in 1980.
Bill was a leader in hiscommunity and his profession, serving as board member or president for many civic organizations including Pasadena Rotary, Pasadena Quarterbacks and Arcadia Methodist Hospital. In 1985 he was president of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association, a trade association representing 20,000 auto dealers nationwide. Bill continued to moonlight as a sportscaster, providing color commentary for the Los Angeles Rams in the 50s and USC football in the 60s and 70s.
Bill is survived by his sons Bill Jr. (LauraLee), John (Sue), Jim (Judy), and Peter, grandchildren Kate, Anna (Matt Wolf), John, Tim, Sam, Maggie, Joe, Matt, Andy, and Ben, step-grandchildren
Zac and Nicole Carman, and great-grandson Charlie Wolf.The family would like to express special gratitude to the loving caregivers who helped make Bill’s final days comfortable, Denise Wood and Maria Bermudez.
Bill Symes was the model of a kind, generous, and wise father, and a lasting inspiration to every member of his family. He will be missed.
Funeral service will be in the chapel at Pacific View Mortuary in Corona Del Mar at 10:30 am Saturday, Aug. 3, with reception to follow (location TBA). In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Hoag Hospital Foundation in Newport Beach or the Pasadena Community Foundation in Pasadena.