Cover photo for William Serrano's Obituary
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1937 William 2021

William Serrano

December 8, 1937 — September 13, 2021

William “Bill” Serrano was born in Helper Utah on Wednesday December 8th 1937. He passed away on Monday September 13th in Idaho Falls Idaho after a short bout with pneumonia. He was almost 84 years old.

Bill spent time at Pocatello High School, in the United States Air Force and at Idaho State University. Bill and Donna Goosey were married in 1963. They had two sons, Scott, and Brad. Bill and Donna divorced in 1992 and in 2002 Bill married Julie Hanson of Brigham City Utah. For the last 20 years Bill and Julie have enjoyed traveling, home improvement projects, attending their grandchildren’s sporting events and all the other activities of a happy and busy retirement.

You’d never guess Bill was a nuclear physicist by talking to him. Not sure what you’d think he did for a living but it’s certain you’d see he was quiet and polite. His old worn out Levi jacket had a stencil of “ATR” (Advanced Test Reactor) on the back and was full of holes, paint splatters and oil stains. At their home on Mohawk Street, Donna would throw it in the garbage, and he’d fish it back out.

Dad helped us with addition in grade school and he helped us with calculus in college. He taught us how to hunt and ski, golf and fly fish. As a family we focused our camping around fly fishing and sought out the best rivers in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. We caught marlin in Mexico, salmon in Alaska and almost caught a whale (literally) in the Sea of Cortez. While on a sailing trip, Bill had a close call with a group of sharks in Bora Bora. Back home we hunted pheasants and geese.

We spent a lot of time working in the yard. We built more decks, retaining walls and sprinkler lines than we ever care to do again. He taught us how to run a broom and a shovel really well. We learned to sweat pipe, torque spark plugs and sharpen the chain on a saw. He never let us ski on the tails of our skis. He made sure we knew how to drive long before we were legal and he told us to write our score down on the next tee, never on the green. We sailed rough water in Mexico, clipped to the boat with carabiners and straps while dishes and cups slid back and forth across the galley floor like you see in the movies. Oddly enough he almost capsized his sailboat in the American Falls Reservoir. He taught himself celestial navigation to enhance his sailing in Tahiti and Greece.

Bill was a voracious, life-long reader of non-fiction and a casual reader of fiction. His love of reading really can’t be overstated. As a child his library card was very important to him. The characters he found in adventure books would guide his travels as an adult. An hour spent reading a short story called “The Big Two Hearted River” by Ernest Hemingway will tell you a whole lot about who Dad was. If you’re a fly fisherman, you’ll find parts of yourself there too. Bill would encourage you to read this story because it’s worth it.

As he grew older, he consumed history of all sorts, but particularly the history of the three Americas and the great human conflicts both ancient and modern. He prized a set of Richard Feynman’s physics lectures and an old book called “The Atomic Nucleus” by R.D. Evans is a book he treasured.

As a child Dad’s family moved several times. Throughout his elementary years, he had the company of his older sister Jo and his younger sister Carm. When dad was 10 years old the family was complete with the arrival of his younger sister Beverly. The stories of their youth could fill a book. Mostly of mischief and adventure, running to or away from something or somebody. All through his life he loved his sisters more than any words could convey and together they all grew into funny, smart, caring, productive people. His sisters each married good men and had loving families any of which you’d be lucky to have as your neighbor.

As a young man he drank plenty of beer and made friends easily. At the age of 16 he dropped out of high school, lied about his age and joined the Air Force with his best friend Jay Taylor. The Air Force took Bill all over the lower 48 and to Alaska. Living in those places solidified his desire to make Idaho his home. In the Air Force he met a man named Claude Rose from Ely Nevada. They remain friends to this day.

After the Air Force he worked in Yellowstone Park where he “sold simple tackle to simple tourists.” He was chased under a truck by a grizzly bear, he fought forest fires in remote areas of the park and watched the Canyon Hotel burn to the ground. He once shot out a traffic light in Pocatello with a shotgun from the back of a convertible because the blinking bothered him (seems reasonable).

Bill earned a master’s degree in Physics which enabled him to have a long and distinguished career at the INL. Dad spent a lot of time at Oak Ridge national laboratory in Tennessee. We never knew the details of his work because he was not allowed to tell us. Even for the INL, he had an unusually high security clearance, so we have our suspicions. In the early years of his INL employment, he and Donna built two houses, and Bill attended night school at ISU pursuing an MBA. Later in his INL years he enjoyed working as an instructor with ISU’s Health Physics program. He retired from the INL in 1995 and began and active and healthy retirement that would span almost 27 years. Just to rub it in, he’d mow the lawn in dress shoes saying, “I’m never gonna wear these shoes again…might as well get some use out of them.”

He was never stationary. Right up to the end he was always building something or reading something. At 80 years old he rode in a P-51 Mustang. He was thrilled with barrel rolls and strafing runs on unsuspecting farm equipment in Power County. At the age of 81, he skied at Pebble Creek for the last time with Scott and Martin. A week before his death he amused himself by hitting pinecones with a golf club across the street into his neighbor’s yard (funny guy). Two weeks before his death he cast his Spey rod for the last time on the Snake River, eventually catching the only fish of the trip (a brown trout the size of your finger). Martin laughed at him and Bill thought it was great.

In our minds eye, we have a collection of memories. In our hands we now collect his slide ruler, his shotgun, and the Ruger .22 pistol he carried on the sagebrush desert as a young man. After a life well lived these few things have become the treasures of our family. Dad referred to himself as “The Amazing William” and he really was. In an unexpected rush, we’ve written only a fraction of his story. Some we don’t know and some we’ve saved for ourselves only. At this time, due to the spike in covid there is no formal memorial planned. We’ll have a small memorial with every fish we release from here on. We’ll miss you forever Dad. We love you so much.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, his stepdad and several aunts and uncles all of whom he adored. Bill is survived by his wife Julie Serrano of Idaho Falls, his sons Scott (Wendy) Serrano of Pocatello and Brad Serrano of Hailey Idaho, his step children John (Amy) Larsen of Brigham City Utah, Michael Larsen of Corinne Utah, Paula Larsen of Idaho Falls and Angie Wilson of Virginia Beach Virginia, his sisters Josephine O’Donnell of Ambler Pennsylvania, Carmel Hall of Vancouver Washington and Beverly (Larry) Christensen of Idaho Falls Idaho. Bill is survived by nine grandchildren; Martin Serrano, Dakota and Alexandria Carlisle, Daxton and Lanson Drain, Conner and Aiden Wilson, Cayman Larsen, and Jade Larsen as well as many nieces and nephews scattered across the United States.

In lieu of flowers, please extend some act of kindness (big or little, doesn’t matter) to a friend, a family member or even a total stranger. Dad would be honored and humbled by that. There will be no services held at this time.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Serrano, please visit our flower store.


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