Dr. Bill Harlan 1938-2023

I am sending along to you the notice regarding the passing of Bill Harlan I received from Marta Gillen, Sr. Executive Assistant in the Office of the President at DVC.  Please note the date, time and location of Bill’s memorial service scheduled for April 27; the information is bolded below:

We are sad to report the passing of former employee William Harlan. Dr. Harlan served the district in several different roles including full-time and part-time English faculty and manager. The following memorial notice including service information is provided from his son.


Obituary – Dr. William “Bill” Harlan


Dr. William “Bill” Harlan, an English teacher and Shakespearean scholar, passed away on April 17, 2023, in Walnut Creek, California. He was born in 1938 in Watsonville, California and was 84 years old.


Dr. Harlan began his teaching career in the late 1960s and went on to earn a Master’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of California, San Francisco. He taught English at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, and served as the Director of the Center for Higher Education in San Ramon, California, until his retirement in 1989. He was a distinguished Shakespearean scholar who led tours to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and London, England for nearly 40 years.


Dr. Harlan was previously married to Mary Harlan, who passed away in 2005, and he later married Ruth Martin in 2011. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Martin Harlan, his son, Will Harlan, his daughter, Heather Cozad, stepsons Peter and Geoffrey Martin, his grandchildren, and great-granddaughter, as well as his dog, Tripper.


Dr. Harlan was an active member of the San Ramon Valley Rotary Club for over 30 years, where he contributed to various community service projects. He was known for his passion for literature and his dedication to his students. He inspired countless students over the course of his career and will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.


A memorial service to celebrate Dr. Harlan’s life will be held at Hull’s Walnut Creek Chapel on April 27 at 10:00 am. The service is open to family, friends, and colleagues. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.



For retirees, in addition to Bill’s significant contributions to DVC and San Ramon, Bill was an early supporter and leader in a developing Retirees Association, serving as president, activities coordinator, dinner meetings chair and emcee.  After stepping away from those jobs in the organization, Bill  continued to support the organization. We will miss him.

Nancy Zink

DVCRA Liaison