Irvine’s First City Manager William Woollett Jr. Leaves Behind Lasting Legacy

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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William “Bill” Woollett Jr., Irvine’s first city manager, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 6.

Woollett was a decorated Korean War veteran who went on to have a long and accomplished career as city manager of four California cities and the chief executive officer of the Transportation Corridor Agencies.

He became the City of Irvine’s first full-time employee when he was hired as city manager in January 1972. 

Under his outstanding leadership, Irvine experienced numerous accomplishments including:

  • The creation of the Irvine Police Department,
  • The establishment of Irvine’s nationally acclaimed park system,
  • The passage of the landmark 1988 Open Space Agreement that preserved 16,000 acres of open space in Irvine,
  • The opening of the Irvine Civic Center,
  • And Irvine’s leadership in establishing the Transportation Corridor Agencies.

Woollett was also a driving force in the design and construction of the Heritage Park Aquatics Complex which opened in 1978 and was dedicated as the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in 2004. He provided oversight for the 1980 U.S. Swimming Long Course Nationals at the Aquatics Center, and was the assistant venue manager for the 1984 Olympic swimming events and the pentathlon-swimming event held there.

After 17 years as city manager, Woollett left Irvine for the Transportation Corridor Agencies, where he served as chief executive officer until January 1999. In 2001, he was awarded the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ Visionary Award in recognition of his ability to turn a vision into reality.

The City of Irvine is incredibly grateful for Woollett’s leadership and friendship and offers its sincere condolences to his wife, Betty Jo, his family, and friends.

Category: Community News