Richard William Highlander

U.S. Veteran

February 17, 1940 – January 24, 2022

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Richard William “Bill” Highlander of San Jose, California, died January 24, 2022. 


A Celebration of Life for Bill and his wife, Ida Highlander, who died 11 months earlier, will be held on March 26th at the Silver Creek Valley County Club at 1 pm. A funeral service will be held on June 7th at Arlington National Cemetery.  


Bill was born on Feb 17, 1940, in Beckley, West Virginia, to Ronald and Lucille Highlander. A graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, he was an all-state football player and graduated with high honors. After a year at the Greenbrier Military Academy, he accepted a scholarship to Rutgers University, where he was a brother of Chi Psi fraternity, a member of Rutgers 1961 undefeated football team, and cadet colonel of the ROTC.


As a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1963, he was commissioned as an army officer and served more than 21 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. His awards and decorations include Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Ranger Tab, and Airborne Wings. In 2016, he was inducted into the U.S. Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame.


He was married to Ida (nee Canterbury) on June 26, 1965, and before Ida’s death, they celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. He is survived by daughter Alison, son-in-law Jonathan Curtis, and two grandchildren, Rylee and William Curtis.


Bill also graduated from the University of Georgia with a master’s degree in journalism and was awarded a prize for his thesis, the first in the history of the Grady School of Journalism.

After retirement from the Army, he joined FMC Corp. and worked as the Vice President, Corporate Communications. He later joined Calpine Corp as the Vice President, Public Relations. He later became editor of the Evergreen Times, a community newspaper, and authored three history books. Bill was active in the community as a member of the Silicon Valley Ethics Group and the Knights Hospitaller/Order of St John. He was also a strong supporter of the San Jose Repertory Theatre and San Jose Symphony. Bill was influential in gaining support and funds for the Sons of San Jose memorial honoring residents killed in action during the Vietnam War. 

He was a good son, a good soldier, a good husband, a good father, and a great man.

Visitation & Funeral Service Information

Bill will be interred with his wife, Ida at Arlington National Cemetery.