William D. Greenlee
From: Bill Bentley, 4 May 2002
This was an obituary I wrote as the editor of the PBSS's "The
Hole News" in
We lose a friend!
William D. (Wild Bill) Greenlee entered
life August 14, 1957 in Andrews,
Texas. He passed away June 29th, 1995 in El Paso, Texas after
a brief illness.
Wild Bill as we called him was at one time a member and officer of
Basin Speleological Society. During the mid 80’s he served as
of the PBSS “Spylunk” when he resided in Andrews, Texas. He later moved
Midland with a transfer from Exxon. In 1987, Bill moved to Carlsbad
and went to
work for Westinghouse as a Engineer for the Waste Isolation Pilot
I caved with Bill for several
years and have to admit that those were
some of the best caving years of my life. I have many fond
times. Bill was always the life of the party and will be sorely missed
who knew him. I remember once a trip to Christmas Tree Cave in Carlsbad
National Park, New Mexico in which several of us had been in there
for hours and
I wanted to leave and so did the rest of the group, but not Bill! He
stay and he did. Bill returned from the cave several hours later and
had got his
fill of this cave. He truly loved caves and caving.
Bill will always be remembered for the strange things
he did, like he never
owned a television set, he said he didn't have the time for it
and the infamous
“Pea Cannons” that he started by putting a can of peas in the campfire
watching the forthcoming explosions. At the last SWR regional meeting
I saw Bill
and didn't know that this would be the last time I would get to talk
to him, but
I'm glad I did and he told me the story about the “Pea Cannons” and
time the can of peas would get bigger until he finally ended up with
institutional size can and he told of how he tossed it in the fire.
hour or two the ends of the can began to swell. Then after everyone
went to bed
in one loud bang the can exploded in a blast with such a force that
it blew the
fire out and scattered burning embers all over the place including
on tents and
camping equipment. Lots of people were mad at him over that. That was
Bill was. I asked him what happened to the peas and he said that they
turned into pea plasma and vaporized any evidence of his shenanigans.
During the “Bat Cave Blow Out” several years
ago, Wild Bill help concoct
the very first “Skipper Water” ( a 110 proof punch!), as well as he
Grieco at the first “Skipper Roast”.
Bill was a friend to all he met and was good
caver. He preached safety to
all the newcomers and was always ready to make the next trip. I lost
Bill over the last few years and was glad to have known him. Now my
life will be
richer. So, Bill I bid you farewell as you go caving for the last time.
PBSS Past President