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Family and friends remember Bill Tracy, owner of Bill’s Pizza restaurant

Bill Tracy, the owner of the popular “Bill’s Pizza” restaurant in downtown Palm Springs and Palm Desert, has died.

Those close to him say he died Thursday from health complications after falling off the roof of the Palm Desert restaurant’s location last July.

News Channel 3’s Madison Weil stopped by the restaurant’s Palm Springs location on Sunday speaking with those remembering him as a kind and generous man.

“He just had a love of food. He traveled the world and developed his recipes…he just loved food and loved people,” said John Telles, operations manager, Bill’s Pizza.

“He was very generous to the community. His personality was very open,” added Steve Swetz, the general manager of the Palm Springs location.

Bill opened his first “Bill’s Pizza” in Prescott, Arizona before bringing his business to the Coachella Valley.

“His main goal was to make sure that the guests walked out happier than they came in the door,” said Telles.

The restaurant is famous for their dozens of specialty pizzas and Bill’s house made sourdough crust. “It’s a recipe that he developed years ago. Each pizza is stretched by hand,” said Swetz. He added they use only the freshest ingredients hand chosen by Bill himself.

“We have visitors that come in from Europe and all over…they come in specifically to try Bill’s pizza,” said Telles. The restaurant was recognized as one of the top ten pizzas in the country by Trip Advisor in 2015.

Some customers, returning again and again: “We came yesterday and it was so delicious…we were at the pool today we we were like…you know…we’re gonna come back again,” said one satisfied customer.

The restaurant’s top seller is called the “Elton John,” according to staff. “It’s a variety of cheese, vegetables, cooked spinach, artichoke hearts, red onion,” said Swetz. The recipe developed by Bill years ago.

“Baby Z’s Luau” is another popular choice — named after his daughter who is about to turn four years old in December.

Bill is also survived by his loving wife. Those closest to him say he is remembered as a good man, kind and giving. They say he’d donate the leftover pizzas every night to Desert Regional’s Emergency Room.

He was also involved in several local charities: Desert Aids Project, C.A.S.A. (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and the Ranch Recovery Project in Desert Hot Springs, to name a few.

“Bill really felt that the community was an important part of his business he had to give back to the community because the community was giving to him,” said Telles.

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