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William R.

William R. "Bob" Ullrich

Monday, January 9th, 1928 - Friday, June 5th, 2020
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Obituary

On June 5th the soul of William Robert Ullrich, aged 92, returned to his Creator in the care of his loving wife Nancy in their Mosier home. The several injuries that ravaged his wonderful mind for too many years were left behind. Thankfully, this burden is now lifted from him, but many will miss his presence in their lives.

Bob, as he was always called, was born and raised in the hills of Hollywood, California. Despite the privations of the Great Depression, he described a pleasant childhood full of joyful capers and harmless stunts…by his telling. His formal education began in a one-room schoolhouse, progressed to a small Christian secondary school in Los Angeles and ended at UCLA. There he chose an engineering path.

Quite early he demonstrated an uncanny knack for taking apart and fixing things, particularly automobiles, beginning with his cherished ’34 Ford three-windowed coupe. This natural affection followed him throughout his life finally culminating in a substantial collection of antique automobiles, particularly steam cars. These vehicles were typified by one notable characteristic; they all ran…most of the time. And if they didn’t run, he could fix them. By all accounts he was a mechanical genius.

It was this gift that led him from a small shop off Beverly Boulevard repairing refrigeration units to eventually designing and building all manner of machines and devices, installed and still working in many different countries. His breadth of talent spanned a range of activity from building freeze-drying units to cooling nuclear reactors. He acquired several patents. Some of his inventive work with the aerospace industry may still be classified. He seemed able to design and build anything in his area of interest. Additionally, his manner and way of doing business engendered trust and respect, making friends of his clients.

Building ice skating rinks was a special pursuit. From the floor of the Los Angeles Sports Arena to one of several floats designed for the Rose Parade, he could build a rink that made ice of whatever size. If you watched the 2002 Olympics, you saw his work in the opening and closing ceremonies. It was not unusual for his name to be called at an event in order to address a puzzling problem behind the scenes, which he solved with characteristic composure. As a result he made many friends in the international figure skating world, who later honored him with a lifetime achievement award in 2016.

Complementing his success in business and engineering he was a remarkably generous man with a spiritual commitment. When rewarded for his efforts he shared those rewards with The Church, family and friends. He regarded his earnings from all of his work as “the Lord’s money”, so he shared what the Lord had given him with others. For example, in 2014 a large part of the sale of his car collection funded the creation of an orphanage in Guatemala. He continued to donate to this effort until his death.

In 1997 Bob and Nancy left Southern California to live in the eastern Columbia River Gorge region where Bob’s aunt and uncle, Nora and Howard Gray, as well as his cousin Carol Anderson, had lived for several years. Bob and Nancy acquired many friends here, particularly among members of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hood River, as well as neighbors in Mosier.

Bob was predeceased by his parents, William Charles and Lucy Offutt Ullrich. He is survived by his wife Nancy, his three sons J. Robert Ullrich (Patrice), David C. Ullrich (Jill) and Mark (Renee) Emerson, his daughter Marcia Emerson (Alan) Watt, his former wife Eleanor Herron Ullrich, his brother Franklin O. Ullrich (Genie), three nephews, ten grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. A private service will be held.

A gathering with family and friends may occur when personal safety allows it. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Child Beyond International in care of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hood River.

Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations) 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031.

Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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