Bill Moore, 87, longtime resident of Inyokern and former mechanical engineer at China Lake Naval Ordnance Test Station/Naval Weapons Center, died from stroke complications in Los Angeles on Good Friday, April 22, 2011.
Born in Post, Texas, on November 18, 1923, to Willie Layfayette Moore and Vollie Ether Moore, he moved with his family to Covina in the early years of the depression. In his high school years, Bill was a star defensive tackle and threw the shot put for the Covina Union High School Colts.
After graduating from high school, he enlisted to serve in World War II and was posted to the US 3rd Army’s 101st Infantry Division. In winter 1944, during fierce fighting to liberate the town of Kaundorf, Luxembourg, Bill was severely wounded and received a Purple Heart.
Returning to Covina after the war, in 1947 he married next-door neighbor Helen Marie Like. Upon earning a mechanical engineering degree from New Mexico State University, Bill took a position as an ordnance design engineer at China Lake in 1953. For the next 27 years, he worked on diverse projects including the Condor AGM-53A air-to-surface missile, the Shrike AGM-45 anti-radiation missile, the F-16 fighter, and a series of supersonic tests on the Navy’s “SNORT” rocket track.
He was a caring father and husband—a big guy with a gentle spirit who made friends wherever he went. He spent many hours tinkering on old cars and motorcycles, often with son Bill Jr.; they rebuilt at least one engine on the dining room table. In later years, he designed and built bicycles, repurposing old bike parts to create recumbent, electric, and three-wheeled models as well as designs for friends with special needs. He was an irrepressible inventor, and a caregiver to many “four-legged children.” Friends remember that Bill “bicycled to the beat of a different drummer.”
Bill was predeceased by his parents and beloved son Bill Jr. He is survived by his wife Helen Moore of Inyokern; daughter Mary Moore of Canyon Country and son-in-law Tom Perkins of Covina; daughter Vicki Moore and life partner Rick Doe of Los Gatos; daughter Monica Stalter and son-in-law Steve Stalter of Bailey, Colo.; daughter Nancy Moore of Inyokern; grandchildren Lance Moore, Zenobia Slater, Louis Moore, Zoey Moore, Natalie Pusey, Ben Pusey, and David Stalter; as well as four great-grandchildren and numerous cousins.
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