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Lt. Col. William E. Sperling III, USMC, Ret., passed away Tuesday. October 17 [2000] at Villa Coronado. He had just celebrated his 87th birthday on Friday, the 13th.

Sperling was originally from Bound Brook, New Jersey, and was a 1935 graduate of Rutgers University.

He enjoyed a long and distinguished military career. During World War II, leading his platoon of the First Marine Raider Battalion, he was the first American to come ashore on Tulagi, and was known in Marine Corps lore as “Tulagi Bill.”

Sperling also participated in the Marine landings on Guadalcanal, Eniwetok and Guam. He served as commanding officer of the Marine detachment at Cornell University and with the Marine Corps Air Wing in Iwakuni, Japan, and as housing officer at Camp Pendleton. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1962, and later worked at the University Hospital in San Diego.

William E. Sperling III was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Helen Schrum Sperling–the couple had resided in Coronado since 1952. He is survived by his son, William K. Sperling IV of Idyllwild. Services and internment were private, and the family suggests donations to the San Diego Zoological Society.