William F. Chamlee

William F. Chamlee

7/23/1938 – 5/8/2021

William Frederick Chamlee, 82, died of cancer on May 8, 2021, at the home he built in Toro Canyon, Santa Barbara, California. He is preceded in death by his parents Harold (Duke) Chamlee and Alice Reily Chamlee Lape, his older sister Patricia, who died at birth, and his wife of 50 years, Adelle Newton Chamlee.

Bill was born in Eureka, California in 1938 where he learned to fish and shoot. Living in Paradise Camp he grew to love the mountains and rivers, and later, living on a sheep ranch in Ukiah, he learned to hunt deer. His hunting and trapping skills through the years provided food for his family and gave him time to be in nature.

Bill was a Boy Scout, a member of the Santa Barbara Blue Fins Diving Club (before wetsuits were invented) and he enlisted in the Navy through the Naval Reserves program. After graduating from Santa Barbara High School in 1956, he was called up to active duty, and was stationed at the U. S. Naval Station Subic Bay in the Philippines. His wife Adelle joined him after the birth of their first son, David; and their son, Robert, was born there.

After the Navy, Bill worked at his grandfather’s shop, CD Reily Machine Works as a welder with Union 509 for five years. Then, for 20 years, he worked in Local 433 as a field ironworker doing structural steel, welding, ornamental iron and boiler work. On the side, he had a business as a gunsmith. In 1981, Bill started his own business: Certified Welding Services, later named CWS Inspections, offering certified inspection for welding, structural steel, reinforced concrete, post tensioned concrete and structural masonry in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Though Bill retired in 2000, he continued to work part time through 2020.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bill served as a youth leader, primary teacher and a Los Angeles Temple ordinance worker. He also served in the Carpinteria Ward bishopric for five years. With his wife Adelle, he served a Spanish-speaking mission in Concepción, Chile from 1989 to 1991, and a mission reconstructing the Santiago Chile LDS Temple from 2004 to 2005.

As a Boy Scout and Explorer leader in Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, Bill took the boys on adventures that included snorkeling in Baja California, boat trips to the Channel Islands and hiking in the Sierras. (He even hiked on crutches once.)

Over his 82 years, Bill had a wide variety of pets (his peacocks still roam the canyon) and always had an aquarium of fish. Bill built his own Spanish style home in Toro Canyon among the oak trees, adding tropical gardens, iron railings, concrete pathways, a fishpond, swings, rock walls, tortoise pens and his eagle-topped flagpole. He always had a project. He planted palm trees wherever he lived. Many are now over 100’ tall.

Bill was a past president of the California Tortoise and Turtle Club. He enjoyed meeting new people and welcomed everyone to his house, including foreign exchange students and friends from many backgrounds and cultures. He loved sharing meals and experiences and his testimony of Jesus Christ. 

Bill is survived by his wife of five years, Ninfa Mirambel Chamlee, who lovingly cared for him to the end; his sisters, Virginia Cooper (Allen) and Kathleen Ealand-Williams (Norman) of Santa Ynez; his children, David (Maria), Bob (Danielle), Patty (Karl) Buchmiller and Dan (Laurie), all of Santa Barbara County, and April (Bob) Martell of Portland, Oregon.

He was very proud of his 21 Chamlee grandchildren: David (Catarina), Peter, Shawn, Sequoia, Daniel (Stephanie), Jamie (Jeremy) Lehl, Thomas (Heather), Stacy (Larry) Jacobsen, Whitney (Nathan) Saito, Valerie, Ben (Dana), Sam (Lizzie), Michael (Karen), Brian, Naomi Buchmiller, Katie (Kenneth) Dunn, Linda (Craig) Nichols, Cathrine (Austin) Vach, Annette (Mark) Thueson, Charlotte (Joseph) Andrews and Thomas (Grace) Martell; and his 32 great–grandchildren (with two on the way).

To view the funeral service via Zoom, contact a family member for the link and password. The funeral will be held at the Carpinteria LDS Church, 1501 Linden Ave., Carpinteria on May 20, 2021 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with visitation from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. William will be interred at the Santa Barbara Cemetery as were three generations of his ancestors before him. 

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