Chinese American Citizens Alliance

National Board

Alliance Loses Another Community Leader in Houston

Past Houston Lodge President William Der Bing, Sr passed away on May 8, 2014 at Clear Lake Hospital, Webster, Harris County, Texas, while holding the hand of his beloved wife, Eleanor, of 67 years. Survived by his 3 children, William, Jr., Diana and Deborah, 4 grandsons and his expectant granddaughter-in-law, his sister and brother, he and Eleanor were were graciously humble, generously supportive and actively engaged in most every fact of civic, spiritual and community involvement imaginable.

Born on Sept 29, 1922 in Norfolk, VA, Bill, Sr enlisted in the Navy during WWII and earned his Navy pilot wings. To further his education under the GI bill, he attended Sacramento College and then met and married his beloved wife, Eleanor. They raised 3 children. He returned to Virginia working for the U.S. Army as a civilian, while Eleanor worked for the Naval Supply Center.

In 1961, both Bill, Sr and Eleanor were recruited for positions at Lyndon B Johnson’s new Space Task Group in Houston, TX. Bill, Sr served as a Public Affairs Officer with NASA for 25 years. He traveled the U.S. as a NASA spokesman and later was assigned to recovery ships on splashdowns in the Pacific Ocean. Notably, he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Special Events for Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 Presidential goodwill world tours. He flew on Air Force One with mission astronauts and their wives and paid respects in 34 countries to heads of state, including Queen Elizabeth, the Pope and the Shah of Iran. He continued in Public Affairs at the Johnson Space Center until his retirement in 1986.

His life long community affairs included organizing new toastmaster clubs, member of the Chinese Baptist Church for over 50 years, member of the American Legion Post 596 for 45 years, and past president of Chinese American Citizens Alliance in 1973. He was a simple, honest man with a tremendous sense of wit and humor up to the day he died. Everyone who met him was sincerely touched by his life.

"Bill Der Bing was a great respecter of persons and understood the value of the self-worth and value of others--always!," reflected National President Ed Gor. "He and Eleanor were parent mentors to so many of the Chinese American youth at the time when their own children were in high school and college. Knowing a Chinese American couple who had professional jobs and didn't own a restaurant or store was very unusual and to see their example in the professional workplace was extremely valuable. Bill Der Bing was one of my most impressionable role models that I knew as he exemplified dignity, protocol, attention to detail and unboundless care for people who came into his awareness. I don't think the world is a better place because Bill Der Bing came through, the people are better people because Bill Der Bing came through. Our condolences to Eleanor, Bill, Jr., Diana and Debbie."