William ‘Bill’ Henry Downing Jr., an El Granada resident, passed away on Saturday, July 3, 2021, after a courageous 2½-year battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was 69.
Bill was born on Oct. 1, 1951, in San Francisco, Calif. He was raised in Pacifica, Calif., and attended Terra Nova High School before receiving a full athletic scholarship to play baseball at the University of San Francisco where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. Upon graduation he was drafted in the fourth round by the Atlanta Braves. After a few years of professional baseball, he joined the San Francisco Fire Department in 1975. He cherished his 31 ½-year career alongside his brothers and sisters of the fire department, especially all the years he spent at Station 8 on Bluxome Street. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant in 2006. Bill’s love for baseball transferred into being a fan of the San Francisco Giants. At a Giants game in 1980, he met the love of his life. One year later, Bill married Christine Marcia Illig. Over the next 40 years, Bill and Chris traveled throughout Europe, vacationed in Hawaii, and raised their two children, Erin and Geoffrey. Nothing brought them more joy than spending time with their beautiful family.
In addition to Chris, Erin and Patrick (McGlennon), Geoff and Paige (Rehn-Downing), Bill is survived by his siblings Pam (Lechleitner), Bob, David, Annette (Fazzio), and John. He was predeceased by his parents, Gerda and William Henry Downing Sr.
A private family memorial will be held. Donations to the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, 1139 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103 (SFFCPF.org) are gratefully accepted.