April 17, 2002
William Arms BotkeWilliam Arms Botke passed away at home on his 86th birthday April 4, 2002.Bill was born in Chicago, Illinois to Jessie Arms and Cornelis Botke. He enjoyed an unusual childhood traveling, living and attending schools in a variety of places as his artist parents pursued their craft.The Botke family moved from Chicago to Carmel, California. During this stay the family took a two-year hiatus to Paris, France and Haarlem, Holland. During the trip back home the Botkes had a six-month stopover in Chicago. Then back home to Carmel for a couple of years, followed by one year in Los Angeles where Bill attended Virgil Junior High School.Billís parents bought an apricot ranch in Wheeler Canyon, Santa Paula to escape the hustle bustle life in Los Angeles. There Bill spent four years in one school, Santa Paula Union High School, for the first time in his life. He made friends at all the schools he attended, but the best and most lasting were in Santa Paula.After graduation Bill worked at Boulder Dam for several months. He loved to share stories about his experiences working in the mess hall serving food to the rough and ready men who were building the dam when jobs were scarce and work was dangerous.Bill returned home and attended Ventura Junior College, where he was spotted by Coach Tex Oliver of University of Arizona who offered Bill a football scholarship. In his second year in Arizona Bill broke his arm, ending his football career.He then went to work for the Texas Company on the Shiells lease in Fillmore as a roughneck with a drilling crew, a job that provided him work during all his school vacations for three years at the University of California at Berkeley. At Cal Bill met the girl who would become his wife for 61 years, Catherine Miller. They were married in Washington, D.C. in 1940, where Bill worked for the War Department. A year later Bill was transferred to the Navy Department on Mare Island in the San Francisco Bay area.
Following World War II, Bill and Catherine returned to the family ranch in Santa Paula. Bill and John Barringer, a friend from the University of Arizona, formed a partnership, Barringer and Botke, Building Contractors. Later the firm was joined by Johnís brother, Carl Barringer. They built many schools and churches, as well as numerous private buildings in Ventura County. After 20 years Bill went on to become construction coordinator for Marriott Corp., building Bobís Big Boy restaurants for 17 years.Bill Botke was an enthusiastic athlete and an avid reader. He loved to fish, hike, climb, swim, camp in the desert, and work on his property. He enjoyed his time with his family above all else. Home is where the heart is, and Bill Botke loved his home.He will be missed and always loved by his wife, Catherine; sons John Botke and Richard Botke; daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Kenneth Stokes; daughter Kitty Botke and friend Keneth Seemel; grandchildren, Regan Stokes, Peter and wife Shiela Botke, Matthew Botke, Jacob Botke, and John and wife Alessandra Botke; and one great grandchild, Rachel Botke.Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 12 in St. Paulís Episcopal Church, 117 N. 7th St., Santa Paula.The Botke family would sincerely appreciate any memorial contributions be made to the Alzheimerís Association, Ventura County Chapter, 1339 Del Norte Rd., Camarillo, CA 93010-7478.Arrangements by Skillin-Carroll Mortuary, Santa Paula.

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