William Thebach of Biggs passed away at 11:17 a.m. on November 17, 2017. He was 99 years of age. Bill died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving wife and family.
Bill was born in the small farming town of Ridgway, Pennsylvania on November 18, 1918 to Carl and Grace Thebach. Carl was a carpenter by trade and also a dairy farmer. In 1932 he moved the family to California to take up farming in the Biggs area. Bill learned how to work the farm and tend to livestock from a very young age. He also showed a keen interest in business, owning and operating a Shell gasoline station on highway 99 at the age of 19. When World War II came to the Pacific, Bill enlisted in the US Army Air Force serving as an aircraft mechanic for a B-25 bomber squadron based on a small island in the Philippines. He sometimes spoke of the countless bullet holes he patched up to get those planes back into action and of everyone scrambling for cover when enemy fighters attacked their airfield. Bill was awarded several medals for his conduct and valor during WWII including the ASIATC Pacific Campaign Medal with 2 stars and the Philippine Liberation Medal. When the War ended, Bill returned home to Biggs and joined his father and uncle working the farm. He also owned several other businesses including real estate ventures and the lounge in the historic Biggs Hotel. The Thebach family expanded its land holdings over time with Bill ultimately farming more than 2,000 acres of rice before retiring in 1984. He felt great pride in knowing that his farm was always among the top producing rice farms in the valley. Bill’s civic contributions included serving on the Biggs City Council for 29 years and as the Mayor of Biggs for two terms. He also served on the board of the Butte County Mosquito Abatement and Vector Control District for more than 52 years and remains the longest serving board member in the District’s history. An avid golfer, Bill was one of the founders of the Table Mountain Golf Course in Oroville, contributing both financially and working personally to help build the original nine hole course.
Bill is survived by his wife of 47 years, Mary A. Thebach; children: Lee Mullinax, Patrice Johnson (Randy), John Mullinax, Sharon Adkins (Alan), Marla Barrett (Geoffrey), James Sheppard, and Melinda Barrington, grandchildren: Lisa Mullinax (Marc), Jason Mullinax (Noni), Heather Dannecker (Chad), Nathan Adkins (Claire), Eryka Blaylock, Samuel Mullinax, Zoe Mullinax, Andrea Prior, Spencer Barrett, and great-grandchildren: Fayana Blaylock, Evan Dannecker, Miles Dannecker, Madeline Adkins, Sophia Adkins, Malcolm Mullinax, Adelaide Prior, and Walker Prior.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Gridley-Block Funeral Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Northern California Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.