RIP Bill Edmonds: One of the Good Ones
Bill Edmonds
Bill Edmonds

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Bill Edmonds.

Bill and Lynn began their life together serving in Venezuela in the Peace Corp in 1964, an exciting time for the newly married couple. While there they adopted two little girls and would go onto have two more children.

Bill graduated from UC Berkeley with a Masters and worked in Community Organizing for 8-years with the YMCA. While at Berkeley he was on the track & field team, starting what would become a life-long passion. For years he was an official with the NCAA, travelling across the US to college track events, an activity Lynn said he loved. He began his teaching career in Lynwood before coming to Fillmore, where he taught from 1984 to 1996 at Sespe Elementary.

He was a member of the Fillmore Lions Club since 1984, serving several times as President. Bill was also the chairperson of the Lions Student Speaker Contest since 1987, just retiring in February of this year.

Bill was an avid Wizard of Oz Club member, collecting memorabilia and 1st editions of the popular L Frank Baum series.

Together Bill and Lynn raised their four children, though they unofficially adopted two more girls, taking them into their home for 12 years. Other youngsters were invited into their family at different times, and that shared love of family is the Edmunds’ true legacy. Lynn said Bill was always “very open and giving, very accepting and loving” about having the house full of children. The names of their children are: Petra, Carmen Felicia, Bill, Jon , Maria de Carmen and Maria Guadalupe. “Each of our children have added to our lives in amazing ways. Bill delighted in watching musicals with them, going to sporting events, coaching their softball teams, celebrating their lives as they grew up, each in very different ways,” said Lynn.

Bill and Lynn also have nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.


Lynn is out of town, spending time with her family, but she was kind enough to send the following memories of Bill to the Gazette to share with the community that loved and respected him.

“As I am contacted by persons who are offering their condolence, I am amazed by the number of people that knew Bill closely. He knew many people that I didn’t even know that he knew and considered him a good friend.

Bill and I were married in 1964 and had been moved by President Kennedy’s words to “not ask what the country can do for you, but for what you can do for the country”. In response we joined the Peace Corps seven days after we were married and after training in Massachusetts, we moved to Caripito, Venezuela where we were assigned to teach Physical Education in the local high school, Liceo Monagas. With our faltering Spanish and our lack of understanding of the culture, it was difficult. Bill was well prepared for the assignment as he had been a PE major at UC Berkeley, but I was not. Every day he taught me the lesson that I would teach the next day and we both then researched the vocabulary that we would need to teach the lesson.

The high school at that time was run similar to colleges in the United States. The students would all arrive at school at 8 but many wouldn’t have a class until 10 or later. Their classes were spaced irregularly, so there were always students roaming the campus and it became the habit of many of those roaming to go to the outside bleachers to watch the “gringos” teach. Many of the students were delightful, supportive, and caring but some were out to heckle and abuse us. They would shout profanities, throw items onto the court, and interfere in our lessons to the best of their ability. This was a challenging time for us. Bill simply ignored it, but I was miserable. Every day I told Bill that I wanted to return to the USA. Every day he answered with the same phrase; “I understand how miserable you feel, and you certainly have the right to return. I’ll take you to the airport and see you when my tour of duty ends, and I return”. I stayed one more day an additional 634 more days and now consider it a major and enduring turning point in my life. This story is to me an example of his love but also his drive to make the world a better place in our small way as well as cementing our relationship. We both felt that our time in the Peace Corps improved and changed us much more that we changed Venezuela.

Bill carried his drive to improve not only himself, but his community. He celebrated the service and multiple ways that the Lions Club interacted with the community through the Peace Poster Contest, the Student Speaker Program, and the Scholarship for high school seniors.

Bill enjoyed teaching and often invited his students to go to movies, athletic games, museums, and hikes with us. He would load five or six students into the bed of his small pickup (impossible to do now) and head out. One day I was waiting for him at the Fillmore High School bleachers to watch the Santa Paula/Fillmore game and he and his students came up the steps to sit with me. I heard one of the fans say, “Here comes Bill Edmonds with his flock of chickens.”

Bill would often be found with his dog, Oreo, at Starbucks, going to the Union Bank, walking around town. He loved animals and over the years we had multiple pets, most of them rescues, including dogs, cats, fish, parrots, miniature rabbits, Indian Runner ducks and chickens. When we lived in Downey, we had a rooster that would wake the neighbors much earlier than they wanted to be awakened, so Bill decided to quiet his crowing. Every night he put the rooster in a cage and then loaded 10 blankets tucked around it. He then added wooden sides and a wooden top. We could still hear the muffled crowing, but we thought that the neighbors were saved. When we moved to Fillmore we gave the rooster to a friend that had a ranch...much to the delight of the neighbors who told us that they still heard his muffled crowing in spite of all Bill’s attempts to quiet it.”

Bill passed away quietly at home, surrounded by his family and loved ones.

To honor his life and legacy, Friends and Admirers were invited to Bill and Lynn’s home in Fillmore on Saturday, August 8th to drive thru/walk up and contribute to a remembrance table that was set up in the front yard (inset). They were welcome to bring a note or item associated with Bill to honor him. Please consider making a donation to One Step a La Vez (PO Box 192, Fillmore, CA 93016), the Fillmore Lions Club Scholarship Fund, or to a charity of your choice in Bill’s name.

“Thank you for having a special place in Bill's big heart. He truly loved his family, friends, and his community”. With gratitude, Lynn and family.