January 23, 1927 – April 4, 2021
Bill Compton, 94, passed away peacefully at home on Easter night.
He was born in Montgomery, Alabama, to John T. Compton and Elizabeth “Lizzy” Ingram Compton. He graduated from Sydney Lanier High School in 1945 then was drafted into the Navy and served only one year as the war was over. He then went to University of Alabama where he graduated in 1950 with a degree in electrical engineering.
He went on to work at White Sands Missile Range in Las Cruces, New Mexico. While taking a ski trip with his friends in Aspen, Colorado, he met his future wife Patsy (Pat) Lanpher, of Providence, Rhode Island. They were engaged in Kitzbuehel, Austria, a year later and were married in Providence in 1959.
An engineering job took him and his new wife to England for a year. In 1960, they moved to Los Angeles where he worked for Douglas Aircraft and started a family. While at Douglas he helped build the Nike Missile System. He worked as an electrical engineer his whole career at Douglas, Litton, Raytheon, Hughes, Boeing, finally retiring from Northrop in 1994.
Bill and Pat were avid members of the Bel-Air Bay Club and Southern Skis Club. They loved playing paddle tennis, tennis and going on ski trips. They also enjoyed traveling to visit their international friends.
Bill also had a great talent for music. He loved playing the flute and piano. He could play the “Moonlight Sonata” by heart up until his last days. Most of all he was a wonderful family man, devoted to his wife and children. A true Southern Gentleman.
At the birth of his first grandchild, his family gave him the name of Poppy, which became his only name as the years went on. As he got older, “Manischewitz” became his favorite catch phrase every time he was exasperated. He also loved telling stories about how strong he was in his youth … how he could carry classmates twice his size and how he broke the pedal off his bike on his newspaper route.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Pat, of 53 years in 2012, also by his four older siblings Milton, Tom, Frances and Ben. He is survived by his three children, Elizabeth Montez (spouse Samuel), Lawrence Compton (spouse Rhonda Betts), and Eleanor Hammargren (spouse John); seven grandchildren Laurel Montez, Heidi Montez, Joelle Montez, Virginia Compton, Taylor Compton, Hali Hammargren, and Katherine Hammargren; three great-grandchildren Kaiya Tzigane, Feydra Tzigane, and Dayshiine Tzigane. “You are forever our California Poppy and we will miss you dearly.”
A memorial service will be held Friday, May 7, at 1 p.m. at the Westside Vineyard Church, 3838 Centinela Avenue in Los Angeles.
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