Resident Spotlight: Bill L.
Bill L. was born in 1929 and raised in northwest Washington, D.C., with his younger twin brother and sister. He attended public schools, finishing at Woodrow Wilson High School, where he played on the football team. It was at Wilson that Bill met his future wife, Joanne.
Bill interrupted his college career at George Washington University to enroll in the Army, where he served in the Korean War. While stationed in Texas, he suffered a serious brain injury from an infection, which left him in a coma for several months.
Rehabilitating at the Walter Reed Forest Glen Annex, Bill gradually relearned motor skills that had been affected by his injury.
Returning to civilian life after his recovery, Bill married his high school sweetheart, Joanne D. of Kensington, Maryland. They settled in Silver Spring and later moved to Chevy Chase, where they raised two sons and a daughter. Bill was a stockbroker his entire professional life, helping many local families and small businessmen put their hard-earned money to work for them and plan for their retirements. Bill was a Boy Scout troop leader while his sons were growing up and coached several of his children’s youth teams. He was active in their schools’ fathers clubs as well.
An avid do-it-yourselfer, Bill undertook several improvements to his family’s home, including plumbing, carpentry, painting and electrical work. He taught himself how to lay stone and brick by observing construction sites downtown during his lunch breaks and employed these skills to build rustic fieldstone sheds, brick patios, and various retaining walls.
Bill is a lifelong outdoorsman and lover of nature. Most evenings and weekends he could be found out in his yard — cleaning, weeding, planting, raking, or mowing. Hiking has been another of his lifelong passions. He was a prominent member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, where he helped maintain hundreds of miles of trail, built several shelters and cabins for trail hikers, as well as picnic pavilions and fireplaces using local field stones and trees.
His interest in genealogy led him to trace his family’s roots back centuries, to the French Huguenots, who first came to America in the early 17th century. Bill has been a member of the Maryland chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati, a group of descendants of Revolutionary War flag officers.
Joanne and Bill were married for 52 years when Joanne succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease in 2002 after an eight-year decline. Bill cared for her in their home by himself for the duration of her illness. A devoted grandfather to his four grandchildren, Bill has always been quick to read a book, play a game, toss a ball, time a foot race, tell a joke or pose a riddle. And Bill was a familiar face in the stands at his kids’ basketball and lacrosse games from second grade through college.
With some hesitation Bill agreed to participate in a well-known Woodlands activity called “All About Me,” where new residents get acquainted with others in the community by sharing their life stories. While Bill began by stating he didn’t think his life was all that interesting, after he finished, the other residents heartily disagreed. From meeting President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office, to his tale about bungee jumping off a bridge, Bill had his audience enthralled. Perhaps most notable was his account of attending the annual White House Easter Egg Roll at age 5, where he wandered away from his mother, knocked on a door, and was escorted inside for a drink of water by Eleanor Roosevelt!
Bill, better known as The Woodlands’ “Trivia King,” joined our community in November 2017 and can be found most days in the sunroom for the trivia competition, or the bistro for card games, happy hours, historical discussions and musical performances. We are all so happy to have Bill as part of our Kensington Park family.