William R. Valentine, age 91, formerly of Peachtree City, GA, died peacefully with family at his side on Sunday, December 29, 2019 at the Residence at Salem Woods, Salem, NH following a long illness. Bill, as he was called, was born on June 27, 1928 in Kansas City, MO, the son of George L. Valentine of St. Mary’s, PA and Margaret L. Loftis of Coalton, WV.
Bill attended Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, PA where he excelled in athletics including football, basketball, and track and field for which he received a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. He graduated in June of 1946 and enlisted in the Army. Bill earned his parachutist’s badge and served in Japan with the 11th Airborne Division until being honorably discharged late in 1947.
After he returned home, Bill enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in education. He also worked as a design draftsman for Union Switch and Signal and later, Auburn Atomic. In 1951, Bill married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Yessler. He often remarked that Shirley was the “prettiest little redhead he had ever seen” and that marrying her was the “single best thing he had ever done.”
In 1959, Bill went to work for NAPA as an outside salesman in the Sewickley and Tarentum, PA stores beginning what would become a highly successful 34 year career with the company. In November of 1963, Bill moved from sales to the NAPA Pittsburgh Warehouse as personnel manager. Less than a year later, he was promoted to Vice-President and General Manager of the NAPA Pittsburgh Warehouse. In 1975, Bill was transferred to the NAPA Altoona Distribution Center as Vice-President and General Manager and in 1985, Bill was again promoted to Vice-President and General Manager, this time to the company’s largest distribution center in Bridgeport, WV.
Bill retired from NAPA in 1993 and in 1995, Bill and Shirley moved from Bridgeport, WV to Peachtree City, GA to enjoy a well-deserved retirement filled with travel, golf and warm weather. They celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2001 with a renewal of their vows and a spectacular party with many family and friends in attendance. Bill became a Golden K Kiwanis member and for 10 years he visited the local elementary school to help second grade students learn to read. He was honored to be named “Volunteer of the Year” for his efforts. Bill and Shirley also became founding members of All Saints Anglican Church in Fayetteville, GA.
Throughout his life, Bill was known for having a wonderful sense of humor and for being generous and considerate often responding, “thank you kindly”. He was a 32nd degree Mason, a Shriner and a Kiwanian. His faith was important to him. He valued hard work and education. He collected model cars and enjoyed science fiction, Westerns and sports. He would help anyone in need and was the person you wanted to have with you during a crisis. But most of all, Bill was a devoted family man: a loving son, brother, husband, father and grandfather.
Bill is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years, Shirley; his children, Lynne (Alan) Sessions of Oneonta, NY, Sandra (Roy) Rumbaugh of Hudson, NH, and George (Paige) Valentine of Marietta, GA; his grandchildren, Elizabeth Sessions, Katherine Sessions, William Rumbaugh, Samantha (Tom) Wellington nee Rumbaugh, Rachel Valentine, and Ava Claire Valentine; his step-grandchildren Justin Sessions (Amy Rodriguez) and Jeffery (Emily) Sessions; his younger brother Robert (LaRue) Valentine of Ashland, OH and many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents and his older brother, George Valentine of Ashland, OH.
There will be a private memorial service for the family with arrangements by Goundrey and Dewhirst Funeral Home, 42 Main St., Salem, NH. The funeral service and interment will take place later in the spring in Georgia. Messages of condolence may be left at www.goundreydewhirstfuneral.com. Memorial donations may be made in Bill’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.
The family is very grateful to the staff and volunteers of the Residence at Salem Woods and Brookhaven Hospice for their loving and expert care for Bill. For those who helped to care for Bill and for those who would make a donation or share a fond memory, thank you kindly.
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