William F Reese, age 93, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on June 26, 2020 in Meridian, Idaho. Bill was born on April 22, 1927 in Pocatello, Idaho on the eve of the Great Depression to Ferdinand William Reese and Lydia Virginia Cutler Reese.
As with many of his generation, his life was spent overcoming tremendous adversity through service, work, perseverance, love of family, and faith in his Lord Jesus Christ. Bill quit high school and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1944 and was a proud veteran of World War II, serving in the Pacific Theater. The years following his service in the Navy were marked by great accomplishment and joy as well as deep heartache and trials. He graduated from Pocatello High School in 1947 after his service in the Navy and later graduated from Idaho State University with a degree in accounting. Bill had a long and successful career as a Certified Public Accountant, including working many years with the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho.
In 1950 he married his beloved first wife, Orpha Neeley, and together they began raising a family of active and talented girls. During those years, Bill worked hard to support his family to ensure that their needs were met. He had strong commitment to financially provide for his loved ones and a tremendous work ethic that defined him throughout his life. In June of 1973, Orpha and their four beautiful daughters tragically died in an automobile accident while Bill was on a business trip. Faith, a firm testimony of the gospel, and the prayers and help of hundreds of friends carried him through dark times.
In late 1973, light emerged, and he married Carolyn Stettler Tanner, starting family life anew. He was deeply dedicated in his role as husband, father and grandfather. He loved and cared for anyone in need, and many friends and extended family considered him a second father.
Bill will be remembered for his many years of leadership and service as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including as a full-time mission-ary with Carolyn in the St. Louis, Missouri mission. Additionally, he was a tireless and dedicated leader with the Boy Scouts of America, where he received the Silver Beaver award, recognizing his exceptional character and distinguished service.
Bill was always physically active. He lifted weights, was a persistent and habitual runner (completing 5 marathons), and was an excellent and avid skier. A true powder hound, Bill skied all over the western United States, heli-skied in Canada, and logged thousands of ski days at Bogus Basin, where he also served as a volunteer ski patrolman. Many credit Bill for introducing them to the joys of skiing, and he volunteered his time and equipment to teach dozens. He was fond of the saying, “The worst day of skiing is better than the best day of work.”
Bill is survived by his brother Edward Reese; sister Kay Hopkins; dear wife of 46 years Carolyn Reese; and children Diane (Robert) Miller, Eric (Kathlene) Tanner, Jason (Brandy) Reese and Clark (Heather) Reese. He is also survived by 19 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; a baby brother Gary; sisters Theda Lish, Carol Jean Brown and Margie Radford; first wife Orpha; five daughters Shellie Sue, Traci Lou, Robyn, Peggy and Petra Jill; and great-grandson Tanner Beckett Gasser.
A special thank you to the care providers at Horizon Hospice and You’re At Home, who tirelessly and lovingly took care of Bill at the end. A viewing for friends and family will be held on Wednesday, July 1st from 6-8:00 p.m. at Relyea Funeral Chapel located at 318 N. Latah St., Boise. A family funeral service will be held on Thursday, July 2nd at the Relyea Funeral Chapel followed by internment at Dry Creek Cemetery.
Click here to view a webcast of the service on 7/2/2020 at 09:50 AM, Mountain Standard Time.
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