William attended Burnett and Fremont elementary schools, Jefferson Junior High School and Wilson High School. It was while he was at Wilson at a Sadie Hawkins Day Dance at the Pacific Coast Club that he met his future wife, Betty Houston, a Poly High student and daughter of Judge Oscar E Houston.
William enlisted in the Army on Terminal Island with most of his classmates in 1942.
One of his hobbies was raising homing pigeons, and, while in the service, he was sent to England to train pigeons with English pigeoneers. A frustration was the pigeon hawks the Germans kept releasing, requiring a constant flow of newly trained birds. William was also in the fourth wave in Omaha Beach.
Judy says that she had asked her father throughout his life, “Why don’t you ever complain about anything? You are always cooperative and positive.” His answer was that once he survived the gunfire at Omaha Beach, he promised he would never complain about anything again. On his way to the Battle of the Bulge, he was called to the captain’s quarters and was handed an order to report to Amherst College within the next 16 days. He had passed the officer’s test for West Point, and he went to Amherst and Cornell for training.
William graduated from Long Beach City College and then earned a bachelors and a masters in education from USC, where he had been a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
He was on the first faculties of Stanford Junior High School and Millikan High School. He was activities director at Poly High School in the early ‘60s and worked with students who went on to become prominent athletes and community leaders, such as Gene Washington, Kenny Booker, Charles Brown, and Dr. John Ingram. He began counseling students at LBCC. At that time Long Beach Unified School District was a K-14 system with all employees and students under the Board of Education. In the late 60’s, the two systems separated, and William followed his own father’s footsteps at Long Beach City College.
He became very active in Veterans Services at LBCC, counseling Vietnam veterans and getting them on academic paths to success. During the time of the fall of Cambodia and large numbers of immigrants coming into Long Beach, he coordinated with LBUSD closely to enroll parents of students in LBUSD into English-as-a-Second-Language classes. The coordination came easily, according to Judy. His wife Betty was in charge of the school district’s ESL and bilingual programs, and William was well known for paying for books and tuition for LBCC students who had run out of financial aid, Judy said.
“My parents always considered getting an education a social responsibility more than a privilege,” Judy said. “Therefore, if there were barriers to fulfilling that responsibility, both of my parents spent their lives removing them. They did whatever it took. And oftentimes it meant having students in need living with us. I never quite knew who would be at the dinner table. Dad fed, clothed and educated students who had recently left the Navajo Nation, former Poly students, exchange students, and homeless Vietnam veterans. I think I got an excellent education in the process. My parents shaped my entire philosophy of public education, the need for higher education for all students, and the enduring strength of this nation. Removing barriers to higher education became front and center. Little did I know I would spend my life doing the same thing.”
William’s career spanned 43 years. In his retirement years, he traveled with his wife and children, volunteered in the community, and continued his open-house policy for students in need.
William requested a graveside service at Sunnyside Cemetery with a reception at his home in Alamitos Heights, which will take place Thursday, March 28 at 10:30am.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the LBCC Foundation for the William B. and Betty H. Seal Scholarship fund or to the Community Hospital Foundation.