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“Success comes to those who hustle wisely,” wasn’t just the saying gilded onto a golden belt buckle regularly worn by long-time Alameda resident Bill Rogers, but a lifelong pursuit. He embodied this mantra for almost 87 years, until Dec. 14, 2015, when his final hustle — just a few weeks shy of his 87th birthday — came to an end.  

Whether he had the buckle made, or simply found a dusty box full of them during one of his frequent adventures to one of his trusted thrift stores, no one can truly say. But for decades, many a graduating friend or relative could count upon receiving this pragmatic reminder to be inspired — and keep your pants up.

William Mathews Rogers’ love for malleable metals and memorable maxims began Dec. 30, 1928, in Duluth, Minn., where he was the youngest of four children born to Miriam and Carl Rogers; she was a graduate of the prestigious Institute of Musical Art (later named Julliard), and he was a traveling salesman for the Burroughs Adding Machine Company. 

A young Bill absorbed his mother’s love for music and, later, his father’s pursuit of the sale. While a teenager, he became the drummer for the Downbeats, a jazz ensemble that gigged around the northern Midwest. In addition to honing his musical chops, he was drawn to the nearby train and ship yards, where Bill would go to watch the incessant loading and unloading of goods, minerals and materials between trucks, trains and cargo ships. 

Thus, it likely wasn’t a surprise when he got creative with his stated age of “16” and began working as a deckhand on a cargo ship, spending his World War II summers traveling the Great Lakes. Bitten by the marine engineering bug, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota, then later the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, where, when not studying, he rowed for the crew team and fraternized with fellow Delta Tau Delta pals. He sailed off with a degree in Naval Architecture, and continued life on the water with stints in the Merchant Marine, as well in the Navy as an ensign. 

Bill worked for General Electric, National Research Corporation, then Engelhard Industries, for whom he would work as a sales engineer manager in pollution control. He could be seen flying his own two-seater Luscombe Observer for business and pleasure, the latter often involving a pizazzed Boston University graduate social work student hailing from Middletown, NY, named Elizabeth Decker. 

The two eventually married in 1966. Boston’s bohemian Rowes and Commercial Wharfs served as their home during these years, where Bill — when he wasn’t hauling old cars through their front window or via their freight elevator — might be seen artfully balancing a full champagne glass on top of his head while dancing the Twist.

After giving birth to two sons, Matt and Eben, and living in an old Newburyport firehouse, Liz and Bill moved the family west in 1975, landing in Alameda. When he wasn’t travelling for work, Bill could be seen hunkered in his garage restoring Jaguars, Deutsch-Bonnets, Panhards, Morse Woodies, and Studebakers, as well as shoe shine, Pachinko, and slot machines. He also refereed rugby and soccer, and co-founded the Junior Olympic Baseball league with his buddy, Conrad “Big C” Branson, and coached their team, the Whippets, to a championship.

In 1997, Bill retired from Engelhard after 40 years, and, after a year of successfully fighting prostate cancer, got his teaching credential and began teaching metal shop at Hayward High School. 

Around the same time he became a volunteer for the USS Potomac moored in Oakland’s Jack London Square. This reignited his passion for the naval marine lifestyle, so at the ripe age of 75 he obtained his Third Assistant Engineer’s license. He quickly hustled a teaching gig at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, where he taught in the classroom and traveled the seas on the USS Golden Bear as an instructor. 

Bill loved his canines: Duke, Chauncey, Rufus, Cedric, Bella, as much as he loved his cars, and never turned away a good pun. He is predeceased by his parents, his brother Carl, and sisters Ellen and Kathryn; and will be missed by his wife, Liz, sons Matt and Eben, their wives Deepa and Heather, and grandchildren Maya and Kishan, Anaya and Maris.

If desired, donations can be made in Bill’s name to the USS Potomac Association. 

For further information, call: Harry W. Greer, funeral director (CA Lic. FDR-745) or visit

Alameda Funeral and Cremation Services FD-2139 
1415 Oak St. Alameda 522-6020

Oct. 6, 1917 – Dec. 20, 2015
Lifelong resident of Alameda

Hazel passed away peacefully at her son and daughter-in-law’s home in Pleasanton where they have cared for her for the past three months. Her son, Jim, daughter-in-law, Cher and grandson, Jimmy were by her side in their home.

To live 98 years displays great will. But it was the way she lived her life that shows her character. She was honorable, fun-loving and loved her family. There were many great times dancing and eating at parties in the basement of Al and Hazel’s home. Hazel was born in Alameda to Pasquina and Giacomo Camicia. 

She graduated from Alameda High School in the Class of 1934. She continued on to Dickinson — Warren Secretarial School, in the Class of 1935. She ushered at the Alameda Theater. She worked for the telephone company, and was a stay-at-home mom for many years.

In 1940, Hazel married Al Orio.  They were married for 44 years until Al’s death in 1984.

She will be forever in the hearts of her family and friends.

Hazel is survived by her daughter-in-law and son; son-in-law, Tim Malone; grandchildren Stacy Salinas, Holly Caron and Jimmy Orio; nieces Sandra, Josette, Denise and Sharon; nephew Gene and great-grandchildren. 

She was preceded in death by daughter, Marlene Malone, her brothers Gene, Joe and Jim Camicia. Hazel belonged to IAL Alameda and ICF Branch #10.

A special thank you to her sister-in-law Eleanor Camicia and friends Fern Stern and Maureen Kraw.

Private cryptside services will be held at the Mausoleum of the Apostles, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Hayward. Her family requests any donations in Hazel’s name go to Alameda Meals on Wheels, Hope Hospice of Dublin, The Autism Society or Make a Wish Foundation.

A special thank you to Hope Hospice of Dublin; Mary, her nurse, and Julia, her CNA, for all their moral support and loving care they gave Hazel. Also to the staff at Alameda Hospital at Waters Edge, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

For further information, call: Harry W. Greer, funeral director (CA Lic. FDR-745) or visit

Alameda Funeral and Cremation Services FD-2139 
1415 Oak St. Alameda 522-6020

Jan. 29, 1917 – Dec. 13, 2015

Born on Jan. 29, 1917, to the late Neils and Anna Olesen, Donald passed away on Dec. 13, 2015, at the age of 98. 

He was the beloved husband of the late Elsie K. Olesen; the loving father of Donna S. Olesen of Oakland and Richard S. Olesen of Walnut Creek; the devoted grandfather of Katie and Jake Olesen. Great-grandfather of Ella, Natalie, Oscar and Olivia; brother of Arthur Olesen, Bernice Woods and Helen MacKersie; and loving companion to Ellen Miller for many years.

Donald served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was a prisoner of war.

He will be laid to rest in the family plot at the Washington Colony Cemetery in Fresno.

Condolences may be made to the family at

Greer Family Mortuary and Cremation Services   FD-1408   865-3755