William (Bill) August Scharfen, Jr.

Obituary for William (Bill) August Scharfen, Jr.

August 26, 1931- November 15, 2020

Resident of Cupertino


Bill was born in San Francisco to William August Scharfen, Sr, and Jewell Marie Scharfen. He passed away peacefully at the age of 89. 

Bill, his parents and sister,  moved to Palo Alto as a child.  He graduated from Palo Alto High School. While at Paly, he met Jane, his high school sweetheart, and they married soon afterward. 

After high school Bill took an apprenticeship as an electrician.   He worked for Progress and Stanford Electric for many years, then he started his own electrical business, Scharfen Electric, as his father had done. He worked all over Silicon Valley, on commercial and residential buildings, and installing street lights and traffic signals. Later, he invested in real estate where he purchased and improved residential and commercial property. 

Bill and Jane had four daughters. They lived in the Barron Park area of Palo Alto for over a decade. With a growing family they bought an acre of land, a former apricot orchard, in Los Altos Hills. Over the next few years, they built their dream house and kept busy with vegetable gardening, tending to numerous fruit trees, berries, drying apricots, raising chickens, bee keeping, and having horses. 

They enjoyed many fun outdoor family activities together including camping, boating, water skiing, fishing, and snow skiing at their cabin near Lake Tahoe. 

He  had a lifelong passion for woodworking, and making furniture.  He built his first boat, a 12-foot fishing boat, and several others over the years.  He also built water skis for the family. He even built the barn on the property so his daughters could have horses.

Bill was especially passionate about fishing and duck hunting. He went fishing in lakes, rivers, and open ocean fishing trips from Alaska to Mexico. He enjoyed going with family and friends. Bill also loved to hunt and was an active member of a duck hunting club in Los Banos. He developed many lifelong friends through duck hunting and specialty hunting trips.

Bill and Jane had many exciting travel adventures throughout the years. They traveled all over the world. They kept an active lifestyle which also included square dancing, swimming, walking with their dogs, watching the 49ers, Giants and Warriors games, and staying engaged with family and friends. Even after Jane passed away Bill continued to be an avid square dancer. It was his way to keep his mind and body active. He made many lifelong friends through the various clubs he danced with over the decades. 

In 2013 Bill moved to The Forum Retirement Community in Cupertino, after living in Los Altos Hills for 50 years.  He enjoyed the social activities and friendly people. He continued to stay busy with fishing, woodworking, exercise classes, walking, and local trips. He was in the fishing club at The Forum and took pleasure in sharing his fish for their fish fry’s. He especially enjoyed spending time in the woodshop, always willing to take on a project when needed. His quality woodworking projects were both creative and practical, from making furniture, repairs, and fun decorations. One of his favorite mottos, even outside of the woodshop was “measure twice, cut once”.  He continued to volunteer at El Camino Hospital and at The Forum gift shop where he enjoyed interacting with people.  

He had a passion for life, made friends easily and was happy to be around family and friends. His terrific sense of humor and upbeat outlook on life, made it a pleasure to be around him.

Bill struggled to stay active his last few months but developed heart failure which was complicated by COVID-19. He was able to stay at The Forum with staff and hospice making sure he was comfortable. Sadly, on November 15th, he passed away. He was preceded in death by Jane, his wife of 58 years. He leaves behind a loving family who will miss him dearly, including his four daughters, Linda Wheeless, Carol (Bob) Mathews, Nanci Scharfen, and Judy (Rich) Kash; his sister Shirley Roehl; a niece and nephew, a brother-in-law, eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. 

He will be remembered for his kindness, generosity, charm, quick-wit, strong work ethic, and being the best Dad, Grandpa, and Great-Grandpa, one could wish for.

Due to the pandemic, a celebration of life will be at a later date.