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Bill Phetteplace

Nov. 29, 1921 to April 22, 2004

Bill Phetteplace, a construction contractor and longtime resident of La Cañada, passed away in his sleep Thursday morning after a long illness. He was 82.

He is survived by his devoted wife, Marjorie Tarr Phetteplace. She was the love of his life. Bill and Marge were married in 1942. Their home on Descanso Drive was the scene of many happy Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving and other family festivities.

William Wayne Phetteplace was born near the Columbia River in the Dalles, Ore., in 1921. He graduated from Franklin High School in Los Angeles in 1940; and served as a weatherman in the Army/Air Corp during World War II. He provided weather reports at airfields in Texas, Florida, and New Mexico and was among those training for the invasion of Japan that was fortunately not needed as the war ended.


Mr. Phetteplace founded a scaffolding company in Glendale in 1946, and soon after built his home up the street from Descanso Gardens in La Cañada.

Anyone who ever saw Bill’s thick muscular hands and saw him work realized that he was a carpenter and mechanic with a robust capacity for good works.

He was also an inventive manufacturer and builder. Phetteplace Scaffolding, later called Atlas Scaffold Corp., served painters and plasterers as well as the largest general contractors providing scaffolding and concrete slab shoring work throughout Los Angeles county, and as far away as Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Vandenburg Air Force Base, and Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Numerous scaffolding/shoring projects involved Lockheed Aircraft Company, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pacific Telephone, Glendale Adventist Hospital, Disneyland, Marina Del Rey, USC, UCLA, and many other schools and churches.

Over the years, Bill was an active member of the 20/30 Club, Rotary Club, Boy Scouts of America, YMCA, and the Church of the Lighted Window. He frequently donated trucks and scaffolding and other services to community events such as pancake breakfasts, and the La Cañada Flintridge Rose Parade float construction.


In retirement, Bill built a second home at Bass Lake near Yosemite, as well as major additions for family and friends in La Cañada, Big Bear Lake and Durango Colorado. Bill loved fishing, hunting and boating. Several dozen family members and friends have fond memories of learning to water ski on Bass Lake during summer vacations in years past. Bill and his wife Marge traveled extensively throughout the West, including Alaska, British Columbia, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, and Hawaii, as well as taking an East Coast car trip from Nova Scotia to Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.

Bill was a beloved husband, father and grandfather. Sons are Steven, of Auburn, and Rick, of Del Mar. Daughter Janet Lacey lives in Durango, Colo. Grandsons are Dan, of Reno, Nev., and Russ of Auburn. Great-grandchildren are Joshua, Irie, and Justin. A fourth great-grandchild, Jacob, is due to be born in May. Bill is also survived by a sister, Caroline Evans, who lives in Carmel.

Memorial services are being planned, and the time and place will be announced at a later date.