Everyone who knew him called him Bill. The youngest of three sons, he was born and raised in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. “Bill led a beautiful life of service to our community. His love for his family, the YMCA and the people of Torrance has been inspirational and will not be forgotten,” stated Kirk Rossberg, Torrance Bakery.
While in the Air Force, he met his wife Linda at Westover Air Force Base. They married in 1965. Bill was a cryptographer on Air Force AWACS airplanes. After the service, they returned to the east coast, where he attended the University of Connecticut to study accounting. There, they had two sons, Mark, and Eric.
During college, he worked for Automatic Signal Company (they made traffic signals) and transferred to Torrance in 1969.
Bill served 16 years on the Torrance City Council. As stated by Don Lee of Farmers Insurance, “Bill was one of the most consistent advocates of the Torrance Business Community for the 16 years he served on the City Council. On top of that, and this was probably more important, he was an active mentor to many people in the community who went on to serve in many positions in Torrance. His involvement with the people in Torrance will pay dividends for the community for years to come.”
As a veteran, he was very active on the Armed Services Committee, which was responsible for including military personnel and equipment to be included in the annual Torrance Armed Forces Day Parade. He was also involved with the Torrance Jaycees and served one year as President.
“Bill Applegate was also a key YMCA leader on the Torrance-South Bay YMCA, LA Metropolitan YMCA, and YMCA of the USA boards for over 40 years. Bill mentored and worked alongside hundreds of volunteers and staff to always have the cause of the YMCA forefront in everything we do. He led two capital campaign efforts that resulted in the state-of-the-art YMCA facility that our community enjoys today, and he actively participated in the YMCA Major Gifts campaign every year, securing support for beloved programs such as resident camps, senior lunches, and our youth and government programs. No matter who you were, when you talked with Bill, you felt like you mattered; that you were important. Bill is loved and missed, but the YMCA community will ensure that his legacy of passionate, exceptional service lives on,” commented Steve MacAller, Executive Director, Torrance-South Bay YMCA.