William Henry Bugden Jr., otherwise known as Bill, Dad, Daddy, Grampy, and “Da Unc”, passed away at home on November 5, 2021 with his beloved wife, Glo, and son, Bill III, by his side.
The youngest of five siblings, Bill was born to William Henry Bugden Sr. of Newfoundland, Canada and Lillian May Bugden (née Purcell) of Nova Scotia, Canada in Somerville, MA, and spent his youth in Quincy, MA. By the time he started school, he was assisting the milkman with deliveries in Milton for movie money. As a young teenager, he volunteered in the defense of the coastline, as an observer/identifier for approaching foreign aircraft…the beginning of his love of aviation. He developed the talent for identifying the type of plane by the sound of its engine long before it was even visible. When he wasn’t quarry-diving or scooping ice cream at Howard Johnson’s, he was courting Gloria Higuera at Quincy High School. The two were married at the First Baptist Church, in Milton, MA on August 25, 1956.
Before enlisting in the U. S. Air Force, he received an Associate Degree from Boston University, where he was on the swim team.
In the early years of the Cold War from 1954 to 1957, following boot and training camps in N. Y., and Mississippi, Bill was stationed at Patrick Air Force Base on Cape Canaveral, Florida before being deployed to Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands, during the Hydrogen Bomb tests. He was assigned to the command center as an Air Operations Specialist. His fascination with meteorology and all things aeronautical developed further during this time. He was next assigned to the 100th Strategic Air Command Center at Pease AFB in N. H. This time in the service to his country launched his career of over thirty and a half years, as an Air Traffic controller and instructor for the Federal Aviation Administration, serving first in N. Y. at Massena Radio as a radio operator and meteorologist, then reassigned to the Boston Center at Logan as an air traffic controller, before the Center was moved to Nashua, N. H. In due course his duties took on the added responsibility of mentoring and instructing the next generation in ATC, the assignment he most enjoyed. Among his students, he was especially proud of having trained some of the first women controllers at the Boston Center post World War 2. He retired on June 1, 1985, having controlled thousands of flights. Some highlights of his career include: talking down to safety several pilots experiencing emergencies thus avoiding “aluminum showers”; controlling the first Concorde and USSR Commercial flights into U.S. air space; controlling Air Force One for all of the Presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan, as well as both of Elvis’ jets! Much of this history relating to his career has been gathered from the recollections of his peers and students because he wasn’t one to “toot his own horn”. His time off duty was family time and his first priority.
Retirement lasted an entire weekend. On the following Monday, he started work at Northern Auto Parts, Nashua. A few years later, it was on to The Children’s Extended Care Center/Seven Hills, Groton, MA, until, in 1994, he actually did retire after working several additional years at The Lawrence Library, Pepperell. Despite his tireless work ethic, Bill made certain to carve out special time to meet with the “Romeos” (Retired Old Men Eating Out)
Bill was the quintessential “people person”. He genuinely cared for others, and was able to connect easily with his unfailing wit and ready laughter, shared with his family even in his last hours. Indeed, his family benefited richly from his capacity to find joy, rooted in his trust in God. He is already sorely missed.
In addition to his wife, Gloria, Bill is survived by two of his three treasured children, Lorri Ann Kimball and William III, and their spouses. He also found great pride and pleasure in each of his grandchildren and their spouses: Ariane Elisabeth Kimball Sroubek, David William Robert Kimball, William IV and Andrew Lee Bugden.
Bill loved his great-grandchildren and delighted in hearing of their development, their daily adventures, and in the arrival of new pictures and videos of Hana Rebecca, Jonathan Samuel Sroubek and Gabriel Lee Bugden. He so enjoyed his Zoom play dates with Hana, et al, for a rousing game of Aggravation or Yahtzee!
His love and concern extended well beyond his immediate family to his “Little” nieces: June, Diane, Nancy, Barbie, and Susan; and niece, Carolyn Challis; nephews: Ulick and William Burke, Russell King, Gerald Bugden, Alan and Paul Higuera; and friends too numerous to mention. You know who you are. He valued all of you as God-given treasures.
Bill was predeceased by his parents; his son, David Alexander; siblings, Una Burke, Marion Pooler, Doris Little, and Gerald Bugden; his great-granddaughters, Noemi Christiana and Marianka Joy Sroubek.
In lieu of flowers, if you wish to celebrate Bill’s memory, please consider a donation to a charity of your choice. Some of Bill’s favorites were: St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Community Church of Pepperell, Pepperell Police and Firefighters Associations, PACH and Heifer.
Bill’s capacity for love was boundless: for family and friends, for community, for country, for ALL God’s children, as is his love for and faith in God.
Details for a public memorial will be announced at a later date.
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