Bill Landecena, Raised In Ontario, Navy Veteran, Meatpacker And Upland Philanthropist, Gone At 98

Bill Landecena, a pillar of the Upland Community for more than sixty years, died on March 25, 2023. He was 98.
Born William Vincent Landecena on March 2, 1925 in Chicago to James Vincent Landecena and Caterina Fazio Landecena, he moved as a child with his family to Ontario in 1929, where he was raised in a household at 1002 San Antonio Avenue that included his father, stepmother Margaret E. Tomeo Landecena, older brother Harry, younger sister Bridget, older stepsister Lucile Repola, older stepbrother Ernest Repola, and younger stepsister Adeline Repola.
While he was yet in junior high school, he started working part-time at Cal-Vine Market in Ontario. He worked in the meat department and eventually became a journeyman butcher.
He enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday in March 1943, dropping out of high school to take part in the war effort. He served four years in the United States Navy, and, while stationed in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Theater, was given a service assignment as a butcher/cook because of his meat cutting experience. He was transferred back to the United States before the end of World War II, and served upon the then-newly-commissioned U.S.S. Fall River.
After his honorable discharge from the Navy, he returned to Ontario and ultimately Upland, where he worked as a meat cutter and butcher with several meat markets. In 1957, he opened his own business, the Arrow Meat Company.
He served on the board of directors of the Los Angeles Fair/4H Livestock Showcase Association for 18 years.
During his ownership of Arrow Meat Company, he came into contact with a disreputable livestock dealer and meat wholesaler who was selling stolen and tainted meat. At tremendous cost and risk to himself, he delved into the circumstance and then coordinated with authorities to bring the dealer and his confederate rustlers to justice.
He served two years as president of the California Meat Processing Association and was the chairman of the legislative committee for consumer meat bills. In coordination with then-Senator Ruben Ayala, he was involved in the framing of three bills relating to the meat industry in California that were passed by the legislature and are current law, including the requirement that the fat content of ground beef be displayed to the consumer.
As the proprietor of Arrow Meat Company, Bill sponsored seven Little League teams for over 20 years.
A charter member of Upland’s Foothill Kiwanis Club with what was at one point a running streak of 21 years’ perfect attendance, he was that organization’s president from 1973 to 1975.
In 1973, Landecena was one of the founders of Foothill Independent Bank. He served on the board of directors of that institution from its inception, acceding to the position of chairman of the board of directors for 14 years. In that capacity, he was instrumental in the bank’s involvement with organizations like the YMCA and Casa Colina Hospital. The Foothill Independent Bank grew to 12 branches and was sold in 2006.
Bill served for 15 years as a business counselor for the small business administration at the Upland Chamber of Commerce.
As a member of the YMCA in Ontario while he was yet attending Vina Danks Junior High School, Landecena was favorably impressed and influenced by a YMCA advisor, Ernie Payne, and he would look back in fondness at his experiences as an adolescent at YMCA camp, which he and his brother were allowed to participate in at no cost. Hence, upon achieving success as an adult, he was a lifelong supporter of the West End YMCA, making it possible for the next generations to attend resident camp for free. He was for two decades, beginning in 1988, a member of the Upland YMCA’s board of managers, and served as the chairman of the building committee.
Landecena also provided financial support to the YMCA scholarship program, purchased two new vans to support the Upland YMCA’s programs, was a regular attendee at YMCA events, put the arm on major sponsors for the annual golf tournaments, all the while engaging in volunteer work that included stuffing envelopes for bulk mailings, answering telephones, and conducting research projects.
He was inducted into the YMCA Hall of Fame and was presented with an honorary Chaffey High School diploma, to make up for the honor he forewent to serve his country.
With his second wife, Dorothy, he founded the Landecena Family Charitable Foundation in 1998, which continued support of the YMCA and provided financial assistance to a host of other causes.
Among the community improvement efforts benefited by the Landecena Foundation were the Upland Animal Shelter and the Inland Valley Recovery Shelter, known by its acronym IVRS.
The foundation’s donations to the Friends of the Upland Animal Shelter enabled it to open the Second Chance Thrift Store, the proceeds from which are used to take care of orphaned animals. The Landecena Foundation paid for the implanting of identification chips in Upland dogs, and the foundation established a fund that covered the cost of a program by which senior citizens in Upland are able to adopt a cat from the animal shelter for free. Inland Valley Recovery Services coordinated work programs for those seeking to end their addiction to drugs, so that recovering addicts could avoid being idle and be guided toward being reintegrated into the workforce. Bill Landecena served on the IVRS Investment Committee.
In 2013, Landecena married for the third time, to Helena van Kooten.
Bill was predeceased by his former wives, Norma in 1968 and Dorothy in 2010. He is survived by his daughters, Phyllis Landecena White and her husband Terry and Barbara Landecena Segrist and her husband Michael; and by his wife Helena. He is also survived by 7 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.
A funeral service was held on Tuesday, April 18th 2023 at the First Presbyterian Church at 869 North Euclid Avenue in Upland. Bill was interred at the Riverside National Cemetary on April 19, 2023.

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