Veterans Gardens is honored to celebrate the extraordinary life of William L. Bagnard, with his family’s creation of the William L. Bagnard Endowment Fund.
The William Bagnard Endowment Fund aligns with and fortifies the enduring values of Veterans Gardens. Bill Bagnard, a highly-decorated veteran, lived a successful life with gusto, cherishing family and celebrating the blessings his community.
The William Bagnard Endowment Fund will protect and honor this special place, the heartbeat of our town, so that future generations will forever remember Bill and those others from our community who so nobly served in our country’s armed forces.
As years pass and as the community evolves, the fund assures that Veterans Gardens will always preserve those things that make the Palisades so unique and important in our lives; a place that celebrates family, that values a sense of community, and that yearns to find the joy in life.
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January 22, 1923 – October 8, 2016
Bill was born on January 22, 1923 in Altadena California, to parents Lionel Lambert Bagnard and Bessie Lenore Mohn.
He was very proud of the fact that he shared the birthday of January 22 with his son William W. Bagnard — and his grandson Andrew Lyle Bagnard, making it a generational “trifecta.”
He landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day with the 29th Infantry Division of the First U.S. Army. When the ramp of his landing vessel went down, the first dozen soldiers jumped off and tragically drowned unable to swim with the heavy weight of their combat gear. Bill, taller than almost all in his Division, survived.
He was separated from his landing group and went on to fight in the Battle of the Hedgerows, ultimately joining up with General George Patton to fight in the Battle of the Bulge.
He was one of six survivors from an original group of twelve hundred soldiers, and was later awarded the Bronze Star.
He returned from the war and attended the University of Southern California on the GI Bill, and has been a loyal Trojan ever since. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business in 1950. While at USC, he was a member of the Trojan Knights and Skull and Dagger, the top University Honor Society.
He also started the first chapter of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at USC and served as its first President.
As an alumni, Bill was a Life Member and Director of Cardinal and Gold as well as a Life Member of the USC Presidential Associates and the USC Scholarship Committee. In 2016, his family established the William L. Bagnard Endowed Scholarship at USC. Clearly, his favorite colors were cardinal and gold.
Bill enjoyed a successful professional career in the financial services industry, starting as a stock broker and ultimately becoming the Branch Manager for the New York Stock Exchange firm of Harris Upham & Company in downtown Los Angeles. In 1964, he joined the Capital Group in LA as the Executive Vice President of American Funds Distributors. He became the company’s Secretary and Treasurer two years later, its President in 1970, and was the Chairman of the Board when he retired in 1988.
During his career at American Funds, Bill served in numerous administrative capacities and helped steer the organization through challenging sales periods and effectively expand both the wholesaler ranks and the internal support teams.
In his spare time, Bill was an avid fisherman; a passion with roots to his childhood days when he was first taught to tie his own flies. He traveled all over the world in pursuit of different species of fish, including trips to the Arctic Circle, Great Barrier Reef, and the Amazon River.
He also loved skiing and motorcycles. At the tender age of 77, he joined his son Bill for the final pre-running leg of the Baja 1000 course from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas. Certainly, there are few people that age who would even consider such a thing, let alone successfully complete the journey through such challenging terrain.
In his final years, he enjoyed annual trips to the Hawaiian Islands with his family and evening fires in the fireplace with his soul mate. Bill is survived by the love of his life and wife of 64 years, Jackie Bishop Bagnard.
He is also survived by his son, William W. Bagnard, his daughter in law Tamara L. Bagnard and his four grandchildren, Alexa Louise Bagnard, William Matthew Bagnard, Marielle Des Marais Bagnard and Andrew Lyle Bagnard, all of Pacific Palisades, California.
A private burial, with military honors, was conducted with his immediate family at Forest Lawn in Glendale.
We celebrate the heroic life of a true gentleman.