August 3,1947 – Nov 24, 2021
It is with sadness in my heart that I must tell you that Bill has passed away, but wasn't it our great joy to have known him and to have been his family and friend for as long or as short a time as we had with him. He was surely a big big life, he was a big man with a big big life and he really did enjoy and savor it. He surely would have chosen to spend a few more years spreading joy, playing trivia, sitting on the front porch on hot days watching the birds, listening to music and driving his car. He loved helping people whether it was through his Hot or Cold Mechanical Services or just helping someone through a hard time. Willy, as I called him, was just that guy that everybody liked being around. He shared his life with me for over 30 years and for that I am truly grateful.
Thoughts from Jeff: There are many memories and stories that need to be written about my Cousin-Brother Bill and trying to center on one aspect or one remembrance is nearly impossible. Instead of picking one of many stories that come to mind I would like to give people a little insight into the Bill I grew up with and have known my entire life. Bill, my sisters and I grew up in Clearfield County in the 1950’s and that life and time has stayed with us throughout. Bill’s father (Uncle John) was an extremely intelligent, somewhat domineering school principal, that was harsh and demanding. Bill’s mother (Aunt Ruth) was the complete opposite and was a talented, artistic, nature loving gypsy. Bill always tried his best to balance these opposite personalities, but there were many ups and downs he faced early in life. In the 1950’s, middle schools and high schools were few and far between, so Bill came to live with our family through his 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th, grades. We had always been close, but this bonded all of us as brothers and sisters. He stayed close to me and my family and was forever “Uncle Bill” to my wife and kids. He always offered a helping hand and would do for all but as most of us know, often he was his own worst enemy. I would sometimes say “ah man why did you do that”, but then I would turn around a little later and say thank you for all you do. Like his parents Bill had two distinct sides. He was an intellectual and at the same time a carefree spirit. He seemed able to find his own personal balance and was always up on life. I thought of Bill as my older brother, and he kindly put up with me tagging around with him. I will truly miss our times together and will remember, love, and honor him, for the rest of my life.
Thoughts from Mindy: How wonderful it has been to find since my father’s passing that he is exactly the man I thought he was. Kind, intelligent, strong, and capable, he kept his community warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and made certain food was stored at a safe temperature. It wasn’t always easy to figure out what was causing equipment not to operate properly, but he welcomed a good puzzle, whether it was for work or recreation. As I met challenges in life Dad always said, “Honey, I think you can do it.” In high school my Dad taught me to drive a manual transmission, so I could use any car. When I went to college, I could not wait for his care packages, even though they contained canned sausages and Kalamata olives. He would write long, supportive letters in script as beautiful as any proclamation by our fore fathers. Rusty spots on cars, a broken 20-yr-old Lennox furnace, my heart when I lost beloved pets and people close to me...my Dad was there with a patient ear and unconditional love. This past Sunday, when I sat down to have our coffee and chat on our respective landlines about the weather, the kids, music, and current events, tears started streaming down my cheeks. I was not a middle-aged woman. I was a little girl looking for the strength and security from her Daddy. I whispered, “I don’t know how I am going to navigate this life without you, Dad.” Then, I opened my phone and began to listen to old voicemails. In one of them he closed by saying he felt life had been good to him. In my mind I heard once again, “Honey, I think you can do it.”
Thoughts from Gary: This is the Willy I knew. It was a bitter cold February night and we realized our heat wasn’t working. I called Willy. “What can I do?” Half an hour later he’s at my front door, tool bag in hand. Twenty minutes after that our heat is working again. “You’ve got to write me up a bill for this,” I said. “It’s ten o’clock at night and you’ve made a house call.” “Well,” he says, “I’d take a beer if you have one.” That’s the Willy I knew and loved. He was the best friend I’ve ever had, and I shall miss him every day.
Thoughts from Melanie: Gramps my father figure and friend. I liked Bill when I first met him at 15, but I loved him soon after that. We both enjoyed music, Volkswagens and food and that was a great starting point. Bill whom we affectionately called Gramps after my son was born, didn’t have a mean bone in his body as far as I could ever tell. He was always just a good-natured amicable person and everywhere he went people knew and loved him. For years we would meet up for coffee (planned or unplanned) at the local diner and many of those times were reminiscent of a cheers episode with people calling “Bill”, How ya doing Bill”, or “Hey Willy ” or “Hi Gramps” (as the nickname had caught like wildfire).One thing I loved about him and will miss dearly is how easy he was to talk to. He may not always have had the answers, but for some reason, to me he was a very comforting ear. He told the corniest jokes that actually made me laugh. He loved the family cats, my dogs loved him, all dogs did. He often would take a circuitous route to his destination just so he could visit with people and just be generally social. He really lived to be part of the community. He marched to the beat of his own drum and I mean this in the most positive way. It drew people to him, they appreciated what he had to offer and I think a lifetime of listening to his own drum beat made him an extremely resilient and very distinctive individual. He accepted that sometimes you don’t have the answers, sometimes you’ll fail or that sometimes you’ll be misunderstood. I never met anyone with the ability to bounce back, change course or accept a situation like he could. He was a kind soul, an easy-going guy, a loveable Dad, Grampa and friend, a great long story teller, a big word user and a million other wonderful things I wish I could list. Gramps may not have been perfect, but he was perfectly ours and I miss him like crazy. I know I’ll never ever meet another like him. I love you Gramps.
Thoughts from Callan: Gramps had been in my life since my earliest memories. As a grandfather he was supportive, affectionate and seemed genuinely happy to be involved in my life as I grew up. I’m not sure how I would have made it to the school bus on time without Gramps. Every morning he would coax me out of bed, put my Pop-Tarts in the toaster for me, and then we would walk to the bus stop together with Spicy, our dog that Gramps absolutely adored. The man was possibly the most unique character I will ever know. He had an iconic voice, hefty enough that when you heard the bass in his words you immediately knew who was speaking. He was almost cartoonish in his singsong delivery when he spoke which would help to hold your attention as he could easily go on and on about a variety of subjects. Gramps was a gregarious person, thriving off the presence of others whether they be strangers or longtime friends. He didn’t do small talk, he would tell anyone and everyone his current mood and discuss whatever challenge he was facing that day. He would go through several work vehicles over the years, but one could always recognize a white van with the classic red and blue “Hot or Cold” logo displayed across the sides. These vans must have been a familiar site to many in the local area as Gramps would go in and out of Gettysburg often several times a day fulfilling service calls for his HVAC business. Gramps was very much grounded in logic and levelheadedness. He had no problem pointing out the truths that people would not want to hear but perhaps needed to. He was also a man of optimism and his upbeat spirit always gave me a great sense of comfort. His presence in my life could never be replaced.
Thoughts from Amy: I remember meeting Bill like it was yesterday, however, it was 14 years ago. I was stood up by friends at a trivia night at a local watering hole. I loved trivia and I loved wings, so I really wanted to play and didn’t want to go home. I then noticed two men and asked if I could join them. It ended up being Bill and his cousin. I would never have guessed that this would’ve turned into one of the best friendships of my life. We started off with those two things in common, then discovered our love of music and when we played music trivia, we would reign. We went to concerts together and attended local live music events. Gettysburg rocks was one of our favorites. Over the years we learned we had many things in common, IPA’s, golf, food, politics, to name a few. He loved people and people loved him. When you spoke to Bill you immediately knew he was brilliant, but when you listened to him you knew he had a heart bigger than life. He would do anything for anyone. I remember the many times I needed help, he would drop everything to help me. His list of friends was long. He frequented many local places to talk and to support their businesses. He valued small business, as he was a small business owner. He was a big tipper. He understood how hard the wait staff worked and he always wanted to let them know that they were appreciated. He loved classic cars. There wasn’t a car, year or model that he didn’t know. In fact, he had a magnificent mind, a thirst for knowledge, and a whole bunch of nonsense in his head that he had accumulated. That’s why he was always so interesting. He had a colorful life and would share stories of the many places he visited, lived, and experienced. He baked incredible pies, made amazing soups, and could create a batch of egg nog that would knock your socks off. He could make anything, fix anything, or solve almost any problem. I’m going to treasure our shenanigans, our unique style of interacting with each other, and our ability to recognize each other’s short comings and still find them enduring. I had no idea that I would lose him so suddenly. He touched my life and my children’s lives with his generosity, kindness, wisdom, and humor. Gettysburg lost a legend; an incredibly well-respected man and I lost my best friend. I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. My life was better because of him.
No funeral is planned at this time but we would love to have a memorial service when the weather is warmer and we can gather outside.... Bill was a giver so maybe make a donation in his name to the organization of your choice... Some of his favorites were Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Adams County SPCA and local Fire Departments ...... If not a donation perhaps take a page out of Bill’s book and be exceptionally friendly and accepting of the next person you meet.
He passed away unexpectedly after a short illness. Bill is survived by his wife Cass, his children Mindy, Melanie, Autumn. His grandchilldren Kasey, Ryan, Callan, Justin, Hunter, Presley, Korrin, Willow, his many loving cousins and his fortune of friends.