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Boulder, Colorado: William Wright London was an unsurpassed storyteller, always with humor and intrigue. His stories were about his passions in life— family, running, finding oil, and coaching. A 3:02 marathoner, Bill died at age 74 on October 22, 2023 from complications of Lewy Body Dementia with Parkinson’s.
Bill was born in Oklahoma City at St. Anthony Hospital on June 24,1949 to Gladys (Montin) and Jack London, Jr. His childhood was idyllic—school, Little League baseball. American Saddlebred horses, go carts. gardening and OU football. In the mid-1950s Naples, Florida, then a fishing village, became a family vacation destination of sunshine, fishing and golf. He graduated from Casady School with academic and athletic honors; Princeton University with a degree in geology and lifelong friendships; University of Oklahoma, a masters degree in Petroleum Engineering.
Bill married Casady classmate, Coe Crum in 1974. Their adventures began in Kingsville, TX where Bill worked for Exxon on the King Ranch, while Coe finished her doctorate degree from the University of Colorado. After two years with Exxon, Bill and Coe moved to San Antonio where they started a family and Bill struck out on his own as an independent in South Texas. Bill was a wildcatter—for him mapping was an art, putting all the pieces together, asking what Mother Nature was like millions of years ago to trap oil today. His investors and those who worked for him were like family. He discovered and developed new fields in Maverick County, TX, Murray and Logan Counties, OK.
In 1978 Bill moved his family to Oklahoma City and about this time took up running. He found it to be the perfect balance to the ups and downs of the oil business. He joined neighborhood friends, known as the Wilshire Running Club, at 5:30 am every morning, then tested his training in races all over the country. His friend Hal Balyeat called him “Billy The Fast”. Inspired from running the Bolder Boulder in 1981, Coe and Bill created the Redbud Classic, a run to celebrate community and fitness, an event that still exists today.
Family came first for Bill. He always supported Coe in her photography, consulting business, non-profit work, and horses. He was an active dad with his children, Lauren, Lucy and Aidan—everything from driving carpools, swimming and sailing, teaching them how to ride a bike and drive a stick shift car, to vacations in Colorado filled with skiing, picnics, hiking, riding, Camp Cheley and the C Lazy U. Beginning as toddlers he taught them how to garden— till, plant and reap… except the sugar snap peas never made it inside the house. Along with Nancy Anthony, he coached Aidan’s winning t-ball team. He would write a letter after each game to each team member highlighting their great plays, often closing with a quote from Shakespeare.
In the 1990s, when his children entered high school, his volunteer coaching days with Casady Cross Country and Track Coaches Tom Colt and Chris Sallade increased exponentially. Reflects Chris Salade, “Bill was a volunteer coach and spent every single day at my side during the cross country season and track and field season. He was extraordinary with the students. He was supremely devoted to each and every athlete—whether they were the fastest or running for the first time. In addition, I ran several Boston marathons, went on countless training runs with Bill over the years - and I have the utmost respect for him as a runner, friend and person. I came to Casady as a young 22 year-old teacher from New Jersey, and Bill London was instrumental in making me feel like I belonged to the Casady community—it is all about Bill's character. He is simply one of the best men I have been blessed to know.” His daughter Lauren adds, “he was always so kind, so enthusiastic and funny. He inspired. Everyone loved him.”
As his children left the nest, Bill found great joy in learning how to play the piano; reading every book he could find on American History, then entertaining family and friends with the most obscure, interesting facts; riding and showing American Saddlebreds, racking around the ring with a “yeah boy”; attending OU football games and championships. And, of course, he carried on the tradition of gardening, lemonade stands, swimming and Camp Cheley with his grandchildren.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife Coe and his children: Lauren Kathleen Todd (husband, Doug); Lucy Coe Williams (husband, Jermey); Aidan Oliver London; his grandchildren Allison Coe Williams, Madison Grace Williams and Jacoby William Rowe; his sister Linda London Bucher (husband, Jeb) and her children Aimee, Trip and Jack Zedlitz; brother-in-law Bruce Crum (wife, Anne) and their children Patrick and Andrew Griffin; and beloved rescue lab, Lilly.
Special thanks and gratitude to Trail Winds Hospice of Boulder Colorado, care giver Jen Carl and his doctor Natalia Spencer. They were angels.
His Memorial Service is November 16, 4:30 pm at the Casady School Chapel. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Casady School, 9500 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73120 or Trail Winds Hospice, 75 Manhattan Drive, Suite 1, Boulder, CO 80303.
In his honor the family requests that today you run or walk a mile or more. Go outside. Grab a friend. Think of him. He would love that.