William Decker

Obituary of William E. Decker

William Eugene Decker, Sr. born May 23, 1923 in Smithville Flats, NY, died at home under the care of Lourdes Hospice May 14, 2022 nine days shy of his 99th birthday. William lived all of his life in Vestal, graduating from Vestal High School in 1941. Family, friends, and co-workers may have referred to him as Mr. Decker, Mr. D., Will, Bill, Willy, Whitosh or Grandpa Indian. Most knew him as Bill. In November 1942 William enlisted in the United States Army Air Force. He was assigned to the 8th, stationed in California and served as staff sergeant and crew chief on P-38 (Lightening) fighter aircrafts. Upon returning home from military service Bill worked in the family trucking business. He told stories of some harrowing night and early morning trips between Syracuse and Binghamton on old route 11, especially during winters. For several years Bill worked two jobs, continuing with the family business while working as a bus driver-mechanic for Vestal Central Schools (VCS). Eventually he worked only at VCS finishing his tenure as "head bus driver." From 1972 - 1976 Bill worked as RV Service Manager for Carson's Rotary in Vestal and then went to Miller RV for several years before moving to Maine-Endwell School District as Supervisor of Transportation. He worked at Maine-Endwell until retirement in June 1989. On July 7, 1978 Bill married Jean (Ward), a second marriage for both. Together they enjoyed camping, fishing and winters in Zephyrhills, FL. As well, Bill and Jean traveled to see family in Colorado and Montana. They were always quick to help family and friends when needed. Bill and Jean provided a loving home to several dachshunds over the years: Heidi, Yanni I and Yanni II, Dieter and Lucky. Whenever Jean was making apple pies, Bill was on hand to peel apples. He also helped Jean can beets and prepare other vegetables and fruits for the freezer. Bill loved eating fish as much as he loved catching them and while he also loved venison prepared the right way, he loved fish more and could have eaten it nearly every day. During retirement Bill hunted, fished and stayed busy with many projects at home. He was fortunate to accompany his son, William Decker II, on several hunting trips to Texas, Wyoming & elsewhere. Bill was committed to the Vestal Fire Department Station #3 in Ross Corners. He served in many different capacities starting in 1950, including foreman, chief inspector, 1st and 2nd lieutenant, captain, served on executive and by-law committees, was Fire Chief of Company #3 from 1964 to 1972 and Department Chief 1971 - 1972. Bill had a passion for the quality, upkeep, maintenance and use of the fire trucks. He advocated for trucks with air brakes to improve safety, he was the first to ask that station doors open when sirens sounded and first to use a milk tanker to haul water to fires and instituted use of a large snow sled with canopy hauled behind a snowmobile for winter rescues. William was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jean E. Decker, November 2021, by the mother of his children, Marion E. Decker, his father and mother, Munson (Ingabee) Decker, his brother Harold (Dorothy) Decker, sister Bertha (Clarence) Holdren, sister Frances Decker (friend Louis), brother-in-law Robert Pomeroy, son-in-law's John Braithwaite and Otto Root. William is survived by his sisters Lillian Pomeroy and Beverly Decker, by his children Barbara Braithwaite, William Decker II (Anne) and Mark (Suk) Decker, Jean's children Dennise Root, Dianne (Joanne) Nugent-Ward; grandchildren John (Mary Beth) Braithwaite, Amy Wright; step grandchildren Kevin (Nichole) Hantsch and Jennifer Hantsch (Scott Jennings) and several great grandchildren. The family is appreciative of the compassionate care provided to Bill by Helen Birtch and Theresa Breed in his final months of life. Calling hours will be held at Coleman and Daniels Funeral Home, 765 Main St., Vestal on Sunday, May 22 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. immediately followed by the funeral. Burial will be in Vestal Hills Memorial Park Monday, May 23rd at 11:00 a.m. Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to Vestal Fire Department (Station 3), 605 Vestal Parkway, Vestal, NY 13850.
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