William Ford Sather was born in Humboldt, Iowa, in April 1915, the son of Thomas and Amelia Sather. According to the 1940 census, Thomas was born in Norway. Amelia’s parents were H.W. and Mary Volberding. Bill had a half-brother (Lawrence Brodsack), and a half-sister (Maude Brodsack Clay).
His father was a carpenter and general contractor, who came to Humboldt about 1913. About the time son Bill was born, the family moved from south Humboldt to a house near the fairgrounds. Bill was on the Humboldt High School football team in his freshman and sophomore years (in 1931 and 1932) (a punter in 1932).
Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy in early 1936. He later married. Bill and his wife, Oklahoma native Zela Albert Sather, lived at 826 Belmont Ave. in Long Beach CA (at the time of the 1940 census) and then 3701 Ransom Street in Long Beach. They lived with her step-daughter, Delores Doane. On September 5, 1940, their son Lawrence was born.
At the time of the attack, he was a Patternmaker First Class, serving on the USS Arizona. After Bill was killed, his widow and infant moved to Humboldt for an indefinite stay. On July 17, 1942 Humboldt held a “Hero’s Day” parade, commemorating the deaths of Sather and four others from Humboldt County who had been killed in the early months of the war. Although Bill remains entombed in the Arizona, he is memorialized on a small stone in his family's plot in Indian Mound Cemetery east of Humboldt. The Humboldt-Dakota City Veterans of Foreign Wars Post is named for Bill and another Humboldt County native killed in the opening moments of the Pearl Harbor attack, Edwin Odegaard.
Bill’s mother died in Humboldt on December 31, 1950, at age 73, and was survived by her husband and daughter.
As of December 2009, his son Lawrence resided in or around Loveland, Colorado.
While serving on the Arizona, Bill Sather built a model of the battleship. In early 1941 he gave it to his wife in Long Beach, as a gift to his newborn son. In December 2009, the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported that Larry Sather takes the model to schools to teach about the sacrifice of his father and the others.