HAMILTON – A joyous home-coming celebration began when the God of all Creation summoned my beloved Bill to be the guest of honor. While our hearts are broken and raw, we weep and mourn for ourselves because we are left behind, for the time being. We know that a blessed reunion is waiting for us.
Born and raised in our beautiful valley, Bill spent most of his life here. A few brief time outs for the Army, for schooling, and a few years living in Portland and Missoula. Hamilton was home and where his heart was. We married in 1966 and began our lives and our family. Bill was a creative and resourceful entrepreneur and businessman. His level of commitment was beyond reproach as his goal was always to do what was right.
The Lord blessed Bill with a wonderful musical ability that he shared whenever he got a chance. One of his goals, after retiring, was to put smiles on the faces of elderly residents at the nursing homes and senior centers. He was so grateful and humbled, to play among some of the finest musicians in our valley. Many blessings resulted from his music connections and strong friendships developed. The camaraderie that evolved was a treasure to him. Bill was passionate about many things but music was near the top of his list. He also loved cars, and we spent many wonderful hours in our red corvette. We had great fun going to car shows in and out of our vicinity. Bill had the ability to fix just about anything, and if he couldn’t find the right part, he would just make it. He enjoyed the learning process when he decided to build a banjo and consequently built six of them. His music room wall is adorned with a variety of instruments. We were blessed to be able to spend time with each other camping, boating, four wheeling, and attending bluegrass festivals.
Fifteen years into our marriage we met the lover of our souls, Jesus. We accepted Christ into our hearts and put our lives into His care. Eternal hope became an enduring theme in our journey through life. This promise sustains us during this time in our lives.
My beloved Bill will be waiting for me I know. Diana, wife of 51.5 years; five adult children: daughter, Angela (Mark) Puddy; son, Bill (Sheri); son, Jim (Faith); daughter, Gina; daughter, Leah (Christian) Upchurch; 17 beautiful grandchildren complete our family circle at this time. He was their Papa Bill and he loved them dearly. His big sister Dolores (Dave) Hurtt of Florence, and big brother Robert Neaves of Corvallis, Oregon, and numerous nieces and nephews survive him.
Bill had an endearing sense of humor and an optimistic outlook which he passed on to his children. His love for each of us is a treasure that we will always have, and it will be our focus as we cherish the memories that he created with us. Because our earthly life is short, I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to share mine with such a fine man. Our faith and our family will see us through this sad time, and even though we do not know the future, we know the one who does.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Hamilton Assembly of God Church with Pastor John Weaver officiating. Military honors will be provided by the U.S. Army, Hamilton American Legion and the Marine Corps League – Bitterroot Detachment. Condolences may be left for the family at www.dalyleachchapel.com