March 15, 1945 – October 28, 2021
Napa, California resident
William Halsey 76, died peacefully at home in Napa, California on October 28, 2021. He was surrounded by family and loved ones.
Bill was born on March 15, 1945 in Port Huron, Michigan, to a large Irish family. His grandmother was born in County Cork, Ireland. His mother Veronica, affectionately known as Ma, was a school teacher. His father Harry worked for the Ford Motor Company. The oldest of four, followed by Harry, Mary and Ann. As a teenager, Bill was an accomplished hockey, baseball, and football player. Feeling the call of his faith, Bill entered the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit in ninth grade. He spent the next nine years studying priestly, culminating in a year of study in Leuven, Belgium, and a motorcycle tour of Europe.
But life had other things in store. In 1970 he met Jill Harcke and they started a new chapter and left Michigan for California. They were married and had three devoted sons, Joshua, Benjamin, and William. During this time Bill received his PhD from the Graduate Theological Union and the University of California, Berkeley and published a book, “The Survival of American Innocence,” a dissertation on Catholicism in an Era of Disillusionment, 1920-1940.
While initially working as a teacher, Bill embarked on a new career in commercial office furniture sales at Modern Mode, an Oakland-based wood manufacturer. He quickly became Vice President of Sales and Marketing and traveled extensively around the country.
During this time he met Raissa Sarantschin, who later became his 35-year-old partner. Together they formed The Halsey Group, a wholesale organization selling manufacturers, and for many years had showrooms at 811 Sansome and 444 Jackson, San Francisco. He later worked for Creative Wood in Oakland, Ca. for 5 years.
Bill and Raissa lived in the Silverado Highlands in Napa for many years. He was an avid golfer and could be found on the course with his loyal circle of friends on most weekends. The same group enjoyed a weekly rotating game of poker. Bill was often the host and provided the group with “Fred’s Steak”. There was no residue left on these occasions.
As a dedicated father, Bill traveled the Bay Area and beyond for countless basketball games from CYO to junior college. He was always there to support his children. His calming presence and patience, paired with his enthusiasm for sport and competition, always set the right tone for victories and defeats. Bill will be remembered in the hearts of those he loved for his devotion to family, hilarious conversations, laughter, and wild dance moves. We will really miss him because there will never be a Bill Halsey again.
He is survived by Raissa Sarantschin, Jill Harcke; Sons Joshua and Mrs. Blair, Benjamin and William, and Mrs. Ash and his four grandsons Brogan, Jack, Gus and Billie. He also leaves behind his brother Harry (Vicki) Halsey and sisters Mary (Wally) Smolak and Ann (Joe) Goryl. Tamara Sarantschin and his many nieces and nephews also remember him.
Special thanks go to the supervisors of Queen of The Valley, who took care of it so warmly and diligently over the past year.
A memorial service in his honor will be held on December 3, 2021 at 12 noon at Christ the King, 199 Brandon, Pleasant Hill, California, 94523. The ceremony will be followed by a reception in Parrish Hall.
Check out the online memorial to William Michael Halsey, PHD. at
Published by East Bay Times on November 7, 2021.