BROWNELL, William Frank ''Bill''
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2006, for William Frank "Bill" Brownell. Surrounded by his family, Bill passed away at his home on Monday, November 13, 2006, at the age of 83. Bill was born on January 29, 1923, in Pomona, Calif., where he was raised and educated. He served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Italy. After his discharge he worked for Hap Jones Motorcycle Distributorship in San Francisco as a motorcycle mechanic. In 1946 he moved to Chico and started Bill Brownell Indian-Cushman Motorcycle Dealership. Later he added Triumph and BSA brands to his business and finally Honda motorcycles in 1959. Bill's love of motorcycles made him a legend in the sport. He was also an avid racer himself, winning many awards all over California. Bill was instrumental in starting Cycleland Speedway south of Chico in the '60s when dirt track motorcycle racing was very popular. It wasn't unusual to see nationally ranked riders show up on a weekly basis. Bill had friends all over the world; his sense of humor and easygoing nature was his trademark.
Bill is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Joy; his son Bill; his niece Wendy Clark Barron, and his beloved dog B.B., all of Chico. Bill also belonged to the "Booze Fighters Motorcycle Club," whose annual gathering in Hollister, Calif., draws national attention, and which was the basis for the movie "The Wild Ones" starring Marlon Brando. In 1999 Bill was inducted into the Indian Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Massachusetts. Bill will be greatly missed in the racing community. He loved going to the races at Silver Dollar Speedway and at Cycleland Speedway, and he rarely missed a race.
Services will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday at Candi's Deli, 2625 Aztec Drive and Otterson Drive, off Hegan Lane in Chico. Friends and Family will officiate. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations in Bill's name to "JP's Knoxville Bound Charity," 1840 Park Ave., Chico, CA 95928, or in care of Newton-Bracewell Chico Funeral Home. View additional pictures of Bill and send condolences online at nbcfh.com.
Published in the Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, CA on 11/16/2006