William Patrick Greenleaf September 5, 1926 – March 10, 2016
Bill was born in Sacramento, CA on Sept 5, 1926. He moved to San Francisco in the 5th grade where he attended Mission Dolores School thru 8th grade. He attended St. Joseph’s Seminary in Mt. View, CA during his high school years, until he met the love of his life, Barbara Jeanne Carroll at which time he abandoned his quest for the Priesthood, and joined the U.S. Navy. After spending 2 years in the Navy, he attended his beloved Stanford University where he played football, ran track, and earned his teaching degree in 1949. While Bill was at Stanford, Barbara Jeanne “Bobs” was attending St. Joseph’s College of Nursing in San Francisco and Bill would take the train up to visit her every weekend where they would walk through The City holding hands. He married Bobs on July 1, 1950, and after spending 3 years in Ione, CA the couple settled in Millbrae, CA where they raised six beautiful children, Suzie, Christy, K.C., Dan, Liz and Michael. Bill and Bobs had a magical love affair lasting over 70 years, which was admired by all who knew them.
He taught numerous subjects, and coached many sports at Capuchino High in San Bruno, CA. Although he loved all sports, his favorite was football, which he coached for 36 years. He won many league titles along with an undefeated/un-scored upon season in the fall of 1966. He was considered one of the top prep coaches in the state, and sent many athletes on to Div I schools. He had a real passion for teaching the game and his teams showed it. Bill was also passionate about teaching Latin and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1962. He spent that summer in Italy studying the language and Italian history. Bill and Bobs truly cherished the early friendships they made with the young Capuchino faculty and their wives. They raised their children together, rotated houses for Friday night after-game parties, vacationed together and became life-long loving friends.
Bill and Bobs loved having a large Irish Catholic brood. There was never a dull moment at the Greenleaf household with all their kids and their friends in and out of the house on Bayview Ave. They spent summers at their cabin in Arnold, CA. They loved to travel, including month long camping trips and an epic 7-month sabbatical to Europe in 1971 with the whole family in a VW camper. Bill loved European history and was comfortable playing tour guide for his family, and numerous college touring students.
“Papa” treasured being an active and enthusiastic grandfather. He was generous with both his love and time. He was so proud of the wonderful young people his children had brought into the world. Family and friends will remember Bill as gregarious, fun loving, often the life of the party, having a great sense of humor, and a little mischievous twinkle in his eye.
He is survived by his loving wife Barbara Jeanne, his six children and their spouses, his 13 grandchildren, Justin and Alexon Massei, Kelsey, Melissa and Shane Greenleaf, Kathleen, Danny, Patty and Marty Koenigs, Callie and Jenna Greenleaf, Josh Bailey and Carissa Bailey Matheson, and great-grandsons Logan Greenleaf Mallette, Jace and Pierce Bailey and Nixen and Phenix Bailey-Matheson. He also leaves behind many loving relatives in the Finigan, O’Brien, Landuyt, Holcombe and Ribera families.
Bill’s family greatly appreciates the loving care given to him by the staff at the Willow Creek Alzheimer’s Care Center, and the caring Vitas hospice staff. A Celebration of Life is being planned for all to attend this summer – details will follow.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to: Willow Creek, 22424 Charlene Way, Castro Valley, CA 94546 memo: Employee Fund/Greener.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 27, 2016