Date of Birth October 26, 1928
Date Deceased May 26, 2024
Hometown Hornell/Loon Lake
Home State N.Y.

William E. Willey

HORNELL/LOON LAKE – William E. Willey passed away peacefully on Sunday (May 26, 2024) at the age of 95.  He was born on October 26, 1928 to George and Agnes (Fullwood) Willey at the original Bethesda Hospital in Hornell, NY.

Bill was predeceased by his parents, brother George, and sister Jean.  He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Diane, his sister Clara, children David (Teresa), Elizabeth (Michael), and Charles (Ann), grandchildren Joshua, Lindsay (Matthew), Rebecca, Julia, and Jordan, and many nieces and nephews.

After graduating from Arkport High School, Bill joined the Army and served on Okinawa, Japan during the Korean Conflict.  After returning from service, he received an accounting degree from Alfred State College. Bill then spent the majority of his work career at Elmhurst Dairy in Hornell as Office Manager and a jack-of-all-trades where and when needed.

Bill had a love of aviation that ranged from getting his pilot’s license to building small model airplanes and larger radio-controlled (RC) airplanes with his sons. After retiring, Bill volunteered at the Curtiss Museum helping restore various aircraft. One of his RC models hangs there to this day.

Bill and Diane resided in Hornell 47 years, spending summers at Loon Lake starting in 1973. In 2008 they moved to the lake year-round.  Bill loved having friends and family visit … taking them for boat rides, skiing, tubing and martini cruises.

Bill had a passion for grilling and was a master of the Weber Kettle, using keen intuition during happy hour rather than a timer on when the entrée of choice was done. He had a sharp wit and sense of humor that more often than not led to memorable one-liners which are still quoted on a daily basis.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the United Presbyterian Church, Alzheimer’s Association, or Palmesano Strong.

A Celebration of Life will be held on a date to be determined.

The Bishop-Johnson & DeSanto Funeral Home, 285 Main St., Hornell 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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One Response

  1. Sending my sincere condolences to Mrs. Willey, David, Lisa, Charlie and your families. Your dad lived a long and beautiful life — and lived about half of it, in fact, directly across the street from all of us Aini’s in our former homes back on Riverside Place!!!

    I have many happy memories from those years of birthday parties at your house, ice skating in your backyard, and playing in your basement (the new one) amidst all the model airplanes your dad was working on!!

    However, I have one special memory that has always reminded me of your dad for more than 50 years! I remember one time when your dad brought Dave and I back home after a Cub Scout meeting, and I was having a difficult time figuring out where the Big and Little Dipper were up in the night sky. I remember standing in your driveway and looking up at the sky over my old home with your dad pointing out the configuration of the stars and then suddenly, IT made sense, and I was able to make out the Big and Little Dipper! I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve looked up at the stars at night throughout all these years and always remembering Bill Willey when I see the big and little dipper! Weren’t we lucky to have such great parents who provided such great memories!

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