Mr. Willis (Bill) Benjamin White
- July 5, 1924 - March 15, 2012
- Saratoga Springs, New York
of Willis' Passing
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“Bill was a longtime, good friend, and he will be greatly missed.
We all loved him and will never forget him. Our sympathy to his family.
1 of 1 | Posted by: Bill and Carolyn Bradley and family - FL
Willis (Bill) Benjamin White Jr.
Age 87, died March 15, 2012 of natural causes at Saratoga Hospital with family at his side.
Willis was born July 5, 1924 in East Schodack, NY, the son of Willis B. White Sr. and Francis A. (Alter) White. According to Willis Jr., he entered the world during the depression and prohibition era, although the latter was of no great consequence. He attended Albany High School and was interested in girls, sports, and studying in that order. He played football and basketball. Willis believed he made the basketball team because no one wanted to wear uniform 13. As a teenager, Willis played the clarinet in the school and village band. After graduating in 1942, Willis entered the Navy that same year as an Aviation Machinist stationed in Hawaii and was honorably discharged in 1946. That same year Willis entered Hope College in Holland Michigan, graduating in 1950 and also attended the University of Connecticut graduating with a Masters of Social Work.
In 1947, he married his wife Gloria Joy Percey. He once commented that although he had known her since she was 12, it never occurred to view her as a love object. Following discharge from the Navy, a new awareness developed. He proposed one night, cancelled it the next and had to propose all over again the third. He stated in recent years how needless it was for the indecision.
Willis worked as a Parole Officer for the State Training School at Industry, NY until 1957 when he took a position as Director of Probation for Tompkins County and moved to Trumansburg, NY from Elmira, NY. In 1962, he became Director of Camp MacCormick for the NYS Division for Youth. In 1968, Willis took a promotion as an Executive Program Administrator with the NYS Division for Youth moving to the Saratoga region. Upon his retirement in 1979, Willis opened his own counseling practice in Albany utilizing hypnosis for various conditions. He was also director of New Beginnings Associates; a Saratoga based Counseling Agency for a number of years. He was a tutor at Empire State College for Social Work.
Willis received numerous awards and accolades for his pioneering work with youth over many decades. His friends and co-workers described him as, "quiet, down to earth, always involved, and living life to its fullest."
Willis collected and fixed antique clocks as well as collecting Wallace Nutting pictures for many years. He wrote two books on Wallace Nutting and has two children books in progress. Willis enjoyed cycling and cross country skiing in his earlier years. He once met and skied with Maria VonTrapp in Vermont. Willis was an original "Polar Bear" member in 1972 on Lake George. Willis enjoyed acting and being a standup comedian for many years with HMT and then with the Stillwater Players where he was known as "Grandpa Willis". He had bit parts in movies such as The Way We Were, Ghost Story, and Billy Bathgate. Willis took up magic in his sixties and became very good at it performing on stage and at various groups around the region. He especially enjoyed performing for children. Willis purchased a cottage in Dennis port on Cape Cod in the late 1970's. It provided many wonderful family memories. He was an avid reader, driving to the library twice weekly for new novels. Willis loved to travel venturing twice through the Southern and the Northern routes across the United States with his wife Gloria in their RV. Willis also spent time in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Italy with Gloria collecting information on his ancestry, which one day will be given to his sons and grandchildren. He took a cruise to Alaska with his son Jonathan in his seventies and talked about the adventure often.
Willis was actively involved with many organizations such as the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Society of American Magicians, Saratoga National Cemetery Honor Guard, Past Grand Master Mason of the Trumansburg NY Masonic lodge, The Elks of Saratoga Springs, Aids "Buddy" program, Veterans Administration, The Humor Project, Deacon for the 1st Presbyterian Church, and to The Eddy. Whenever a volunteer was needed, Willis' hand was the first to go up.
Willis was predeceased by his beloved wife Gloria, who died in 2006.
Willis was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend to all. His wit, humor, and easy manner will be missed. He is survived by his children, Ronald White and his wife, Cathy of Saint Augustine, Fla. Michael White and his wife, Julie Rodriguez of Saratoga Springs, NY, and Jonathan White of Troy, NY. He is also survived by a sister, Joan (White) Bowen of Hudson Falls, NY and a brother-in-law, Regis Percey of Huntsville, Ala. Willis is also survived by his grandchildren, Collin, Abbey, and Eva of Saratoga Springs, NY and Taryn and Shane of Canandaigua, NY. He also has two great grandchildren, Matthew Diamond, and Mya Walford of Canandaigua, NY. Willis is also survived by his sisters' children, Christopher Bowen of Amsterdam, NY, Robert Bowen of Hudson Falls, NY, and Toni Truesdale of Hudson Falls, NY. Many nieces and nephews also survive.
Memorial Services will be held on Saturday April 14th from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at the Presbyterian New-England Church at 24 Circular Street Saratoga Springs NY. There will be a reception immediately following the service at the church at the ITAM (Italian American Club) on 247 Grand Ave. 2:30 to 430 pm:
Burial services will be conducted at the Saratoga National Cemetery with Military honors on April 18th at 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Willis' memory to The Albany Damien Center, 12 South Lake Ave Albany, NY 12203.