In Memoriam - Bill Reynolds

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Sonoma State University has lost a valued alumnus, emeritus professor and volunteer says Annemarie Brown, Administrative Manager in the School of Business & Economics. Professor William Reynolds passed away on Saturday, November 10th after a long term battle with cancer, which he managed to beat back several times. He was an esteemed part of the campus community for several decades. After joining the campus as a student here, he then returned to become a professor, and stayed to volunteer his time after he retired.

With a 23 year long career in the Air Force flying B-29 planes, he is remembered by his brother, Jim Reynolds, as “one of the hometown heroes of World War II.” His expansive accomplishments in the military included photographing the devastation in Hiroshima from only 500 feet in the air.

After retiring from the military, he completed his Bachelor’s Degree here at Sonoma State. He then went on to teach at the University for 20 years, after which he devoted his last 22 years to volunteering here. Throughout his time at SSU, Reynolds was also an avid supporter of campus athletics, not only cheering from the sidelines, but also contributing to scholarship funds, which allowed for student-athletes to attend Sonoma State.

A war hero, alumnus, professor, volunteer, dedicated supporter of the athletics department, and a respected colleague─ Bill Reynolds made his mark on the world through a life of service. Plans for a memorial will be communicated as soon as they are available.

Professor Reynolds was recognized in 2007 as a Distinguished Alumnus. Below is the biography from the SSU Alumni Association. Mr. Reynolds was the pilot and plane commander of the B-29 that was the first to photograph the damage to Hiroshima following the Enola Gay bombing in 1945. He left Purdue University in 1940 to fly airplanes, and flew photo reconnaissance in B-17s and B-24s over North Africa, India and China, and B-29s out of Guam and Saipan over Japan.

After the war, Mr. Reynolds flew B-47s and then B-52s for Strategic Air Command (SAC), carrying H-bombs during the cold war years, and was airborne in his fully loaded B-52 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. When he retired as Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force, Mr. Reynolds returned to college at Sonoma State. After graduation, he earned an M.B.A. from Sacramento State.

In 1970 he became an instructor in the Department of Management, and by the time he retired in 1990 he had served as a lecturer, assistant professor, department chair and associate dean. During his tenure as chair, the Department changed its name from Management to Business Administration and became part of the new School of Business and Economics.

Since his retirement, he has given more than 17 years of volunteer service to assist - among other things - in the maintenance of student records that provided essential documentation for the School's accreditation in April 2007. Reynolds has also dedicated over 40 years to the SSU Athletic Association and was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.