Date of Birth May 29, 1937
Date Deceased April 7, 2024
Hometown Hammondsport
Home State N.Y.
Service Date June 1, 2024
Service Time 1 p.m.
Service Location Hammondsport Fire Department

William Clive Fries

  HAMMONDSPORT – William Clive Fries, passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 7th, 2024 at Bampa’s House in Corning, NY. The son of the late Clair and Fannie Fries of Hammondsport, NY. Bill was born May 29th, 1937 at his home in Hammondsport, New York. He graduated from Hammondsport Central School in 1956 and married his high school sweetheart, Linda Carol Oplinger, August 24,1957.

Bill followed in his father’s footsteps in the early 60’s, working alongside him in The Fries

Electric Business; that later became The Fries and Son Electric Business with his second son- Joe ‘Onion’. In October of 1964, faced with the necessity of putting food on the table and providing health care for his family, Bill decided to supplement his income by driving a school bus for Hammondsport Central School. Little did he think that 58 years later he would still be driving a bus for Hammondsport Central School– and along the same route for the first 38 years.

When asked about driving a bus, there is one day that remains vivid in his memory. “On

September 11,1990, my bus, loaded with kindergarten through 6th graders, became totally

engulfed in flames coming down Germania Hill. With the help of the older children, the bus was completely evacuated within seconds and with no injuries. “We were all carrying angels on our shoulders that day.”

Bill was inducted into the HCS Hall of Fame; an honor he is very proud of. He finished driving a bus for HCS and for the Mennonite community in 2021. Bill is also a past recipient of the Steuben County Firefighter of the year award. Bill was a staple of the Hammondsport

community, always driving through town with a smile, sitting at the Crooked Lake Ice Cream Company with his ‘cronies’ and just a kind, grateful, respectful man. He genuinely enjoyed any interaction he had whether with the kids on his bus or the community at large. Hammondsport lost a beautiful man, who had a heart of gold.

Bill is survived by his sister Bonnie (Ronnie) Schmidl of Penn Yan, his children William (Barbara) Fries Sr of Hammondsport, Brad (Anthony Mendiola) Fries of San Jose CA, Randy (Debbie) Fries of Kendall, Molly (Sebastian) Leon of Tucson AZ; five grandchildren: William Fries Jr, Derek (Rose Otano) Baroody, Kalyn (Stephen) Veley, Lindsey Fries, Tyler (Matt Kowalski) Baroody, five great-grandchildren: Stephen, Laykin, Haligyn, Jayden, Kayden and his companion Jeannie Stanton of Richmond VA.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife Linda Fries, his parents Clair and Fannie Fries, his son Joe ‘Onion’ Fries, his brother Ronald Fries, and his sisters Judy Lewis, Shirley Frize, Nancy Watson, and Sally Strzepek.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 1st, 2024 at the Hammondsport Fire

Department, 8521 State Route 54, Hammondsport, NY at 1 PM.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Bampa’s House, 170 E 1st Street, Corning, NY

14830 or the Hammondsport Fire Department, P.O. Box 337, Hammondsport, NY 14840.

Now, as Bill would say, “Sit Down, Turn Around, and Shut Up!” and to all the ladies, “Love ya more!”

The Bishop & DeSanto Funeral Home, 35 Main St., HAMMONDSPORT is honored to assist Bill’s family with the arrangements.

Online condolences or remembrances of Bill are welcome below in the comment section or on the Facebook page of Bishop-Johnson & DeSanto Funeral Home.

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6 Responses

  1. My condolences to the Fries family and friends of Bill. My prayers for you all. Rest in Paradise Bill.

  2. Bill was an icon and a symbol of Hammondsport. Always had a smile and chatted with anyone. My Mom and Dad thought great deal of the man. A little slice of Hammondsport has gone with Bill’s passing. He will be sorely missed.

  3. Bill we will greatly miss you. We enjoyed our time with you creating wonderful memories. You were a wonderful ambassador for this area. We appreciated your knowledge and friendship. Our utmost condolence to the Fries family!

  4. I first met Billy Fries when I was a 3rd grader at HCS. I vividly recall Bill playing basketball on the Laker varsity team, and he scored six points in the first game I saw, which was a 47-42 Hammondsport win over Elmira Catholic. I left Hammondsport in 1964, as a Laker grad, who was fortunate to be a member of Hammondsport’s first and still only, section 5 basketball team. We had a 50 year reunion of that team in July, 2013. I hadn’t seen Bill for many years, however I went for breakfast with some of my teammates at the crooked lake restaurant, which in my day was the Sugar Bowl. and lo and behold there was Bill Fries. He remembered me after all those years, as he jumped up, shook my hand, and called out, Noisy where have you been for all these years. And that’s my recollection of Bill Fries, once a friend, always a friend! Bill Fries, May You Rest In Eternal Peace, until we meet again.

  5. For many years, my children, grandchildren, and I enjoyed seeing Bill on the mornings of Labor Day weekend with his friends outside of the Crooked Lake Ice Cream Company. It was always a pleasure having a few minutes to chat with them. We will certainly miss seeing Bill there and enjoying a few moments with him during the mornings of that weekend.

  6. This is going to sound crazy but…I just found out that Bill and Linda went to school with my Uncle Andy Newman and Aunt Pat (Ball) Newman in Hammondsport. The two couples double dated. Bill and Linda used to visit my Aunt Kate Newman Fleishman with Pat and Andy on the farm in Cohocton. I learned this from Joan and Lyle Akins in Hammondsport. Aunt Kate’s younger daughter).

    I work with Amy Jones at TST BOCES in Ithaca NY. Amy is a niece to Bill.

    After reading the obituary I understand the big celebration of life.

    Our deepest sympathy from the Newman, Fleishman and Ball family.

    Joyce Turner, Ithaca, NY

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