By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
William Bill Austin Eldridge
July 1923 January 2010
William “Bill” Austin Eldridge, 86, passed away Sunday at Memorial Hospital with his family by his side, after suffering a brief illness.
Bill was born in July of 1923 to Thomas and Viola Eldridge in Chaffee, Mo. Bill was the oldest of seven, with one brother and five sisters. Being the oldest and living during the depression, a lot of the duties fell upon him, one being caring for the family garden. With little money during those times, a healthy garden was essential for a family of that size. After graduating from Chaffee High in 1943, Bill worked whenever and wherever he could, even if it meant following work out of state. Providing for his family was his priority.
In 1949, Bill came to California to take care of his eldest sister after she was injured in a major car accident. Bill settled in California, only returning to Missouri for an occasional visit.
Bill was a kind, hardworking, honest man, and a handshake was as good as any contract. His word was solid, and he always made himself available to those in need. Bill lived a life rich in love, family and memories. After retiring from work, he and his wife moved to Greeley Hill onto six acres.
Together, they cleared the brush and trees in order to raise his precious goats. His pride in his goats shined through; when visitors arrived they were quickly escorted out to the pasture to meet any new goats they may not have met before.
If Bill could justify any time away from his wife, work or his goats, then fishing was his hobby of choice. He was always ready to go deer hunting or camping with his family and friends.
On Bill's 84th birthday he received a shiny new blue 3-wheeled bicycle on which he rode all around Waterford. One year later, his bicycle was stolen from his garage and never found. Within two months the City of Waterford, the local Boy Scouts, Waterford Police Department, and the local merchants presented Bill with a brand new blue 3-wheeled bicycle.
Bill is survived by his wife, LaVoughn Eldridge of Waterford; brother, Tommy Eldridge; sisters, Betty Dennis, Linda Talley, Lou Bettel and Helen Gregorey; daughters, Brenda Jefferis, Sandra Vaughn and Teri Cunningham; sons, Derrol Eldrige and Dennis Babb; 25 grandchildren; 37 great grandchildren; and one great great grandchild.
He was preceded in death by daughter, Wilma Knutson; sons, Gerald “Jerry” Eldridge and Alan Babb; sister, Vivian Nisewonger; and five grandchildren.
Special thanks go out to the medical staff at Memorial Hospital of Modesto, who took such special care of Bill prior to his passing.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22 at Allen Mortuary. Please share your memories and condolences at