Bill Lane, the founder of PATA, passed away last Saturday. He was 90 years old. Ambassador Bill Lane was instrumental in the creation of PATA in 1952 in Hawaii and remained an active member throughout his life.
He was also the founder of Sunset Magazine, one of the region’s first travel publications, a pioneer of the region’s travel and tourism movement and a founding member of the PATA Foundation.
Terry Francis, chairman of the foundation board of trustees said: “As chairman of the PATA Foundation, it is my very sad duty to write to you about the passing of one of the foundation’s founders and great benefactors. Bill Lane, former foundation president, left us this past Saturday at the age of 90 of respiratory failure after a brief illness.”
During his decades (1959-1990) as co-owner and publisher of the acclaimed Sunset magazine, LW “Bill” Lane Junior helped define life in the American west after World War II. The magazine, the most successful regional publication in the USA, encouraged its readers to live well, focusing on home, garden, food, and travel.
Bill was a pioneering environmentalist, editorializing against DDT three years before it was banned. His belief in travel as a bridge for cultural exchange and understanding, led him to take an early interest in sustainable development, both in his own country and those across the Pacific. Stationed in the Pacific with the US Navy during WW II, he later served in peace time as US ambassador to Australia and Narau, and as ambassador-at-large to Japan.
These interests and involvements made it only natural for Bill to be one of the driving forces behind the formation of PATA in 1952 and later, of the PATA Foundation. Recognized in PATA’s Hall of Fame, he remained very active in the association and was named a life member in 1976.
Bill was a philanthropist endowing such institutions as his alma mater, Stanford University, and the Smithsonian.