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Bill Maddux

Longtime Ridgecrest resident Bill Maddux died Tuesday, March 26th, at home surrounded by family after a long illness.

William Robert Maddux was born in Pampa, Texas, on May 4, 1936, and moved to Salem, Oregon, at an early age and lived there through high school. He attended Portland State, earning a degree in Electrical Engineering, and during this time, spent summers surveying in the area outside of Anchorage, Alaska, which kicked off a lifelong love of the outdoors. He started his career at China Lake Naval Weapons Center in April of 1960 and worked on the base in many programs (SUBROC, Sidewinder, Shrike, OV-10 Bronco, HARM, and others). He retired in 1993.

Bill Maddux

Bill, known as “Maddog” to many of his friends, was an avid outdoorsman, an amateur prospector/rockhound and a ferociously fearless four-wheeler and off-roader. He was also a storyteller: a collector of great desert stories, a seeker of off-the-beaten-path cabins, old desert lodgings, abandoned ghost towns and the tales behind them, an investigator of deserted mines, and a fan of both bold starry night skies and breathtaking sunsets.

He loved the history of the Indian Wells Valley and surrounding areas. You could mention any random place, person, or event, and if he didn’t know the history of it, he likely had a book somewhere about it.

Had the world known what was coming, it would have been more prepared for Maddog with unbreakable winch cables, stronger axles and unfailingly accurate maps. Many weekends for the past 40 years, he could be found trundling up and down the most challenging four-wheel-drive roads all over the Western United States with friends and family in his beloved 1967 Toyota Landcruiser known to all as the “Landcrusher” (and, as Maddog himself would admit due to rebuilds after numerous crashes and rollovers, was also a 1969 and a 1970 and a 1971 and part Chevrolet).

Bill was heavily involved in this community in many ways over his 64 years of living in the valley, from early work in the 1960s with the Knights of Columbus to being a volunteer with the Eagles Lodge, and was very involved with the local volunteer police department unit P.A.C.T. (Police And Community Together) for many years. When asked about the positions he loved in his time in the IWV, he always mentioned how much he enjoyed being President of the IWV Little League in the 1970s and ‘80s. Tied into his love of off-roading, he was for several decades involved in the BLM program “Adopt A Cabin,” helping to restore and maintain old miners’ cabins throughout the Mojave Desert. He outfitted many of the cabins with a custom-made Maddog woodburning stove.

Bill is survived by his wife, Lynne of Ridgecrest; sons David (Mark) of Denver, Michael (Marcé) of Menifee and Thomas (Sandy) of Ridgecrest; stepdaughters Maria (Jimmy) of Palmdale and Jenny of Ridgecrest; grandchildren Tanner of Menifee, Alec of San Diego, Hunter of Ridgecrest, Taylor of Long Beach, Anthony of Ridgecrest; nephews Daniel and Marc of Sedona, Arizona, niece Jackie, and his great granddaughter Ameina.

Even though his philosophy regarding work in his repair shop was “if it doesn’t fit, get a bigger hammer,” he was a gentle and caring man in life. Quick to make friends, he was always ready to laugh or lend a hand to a stranger. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Please join us to share a story, a laugh, a photograph, a tall tale or two, and food and drink in a true celebration of the life of Bill “Maddog” Maddux, to take place at Casey’s Restaurant on Saturday, May 11th, beginning at 5 PM.