William Edson Deets, 86, of Cochranton, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, at UPMC Northwest.
He was born Aug. 14, 1927, at Franklin, to Samuel and Vera Gheres Deets, and grew up on the Deets homestead at Hannaville in Canal Township.
He contracted polio at age 3, which left him with a minor handicap. He attended the one-room school at Hannaville and graduated from Franklin High School in 1945. He served in the Merchant Marines, taking a shipload of horses to Poland after World War II with a memorable stop in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Bill married the love of his life, Velma Joy Wade of Butler County, on Jan. 20, 1950, and he built their home on a parcel of the Deets family homestead in Hannaville. To this union were born four children, Mark, Sharon, Sam and Phil. He was a member of the Canal Wesleyan Methodist Church and enjoyed supporting mission works all over the world. A highlight of his life was a road trip with son, Mark, to Hot Springs, S.D., in 1960 to help work on Brainerd Indian School.
Over the years, he worked for a construction company responsible for cutting trees to make way for the Interstate system in western Pennsylvania, at Westinghouse, at Sunbeam and retired on disability from SECO-Warwick in Meadville in 1989. He was well known as an avid fisherman and spent many walleye seasons on Pymatuning Lake and many perch seasons on Lake Erie. His philosophy on fish stories was, “Them that kin brag without lying, let them brag.” He passed on his love of fishing to his children and grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Robert and Richard Deets; sister, Eileen Deets Bell; and son, Samuel J. Deets.
Survivors include Velma (Jeanie), his wife of almost 64 years; children, Mark Deets and friend, Linda Geisler, of Saegertown, Sharon and Ron Oney of Rapid City, S.D., Philip and Diane Deets of Franklin; daughter-in-law, Barb Deets, of Cochranton; grandchildren, “Little” Mark and Alyssa Deets and Josh Deets of Cambridge Springs, Chris Deets of Venango, Anita and Ken Dickey of Youngstown, Ohio, Sarah and Joe Greenberg of Cooperstown, Philip Deets of Redmond, Wash., and Melody Deets of Cochranton; and nine great-grandchildren. Also surviving are three brothers, James (Bette) Deets, Samuel (Carolyn) Deets and Donald Deets, all of Hannaville.
Visitation will be at Dickson Family Funeral Home Inc., 123 S. Franklin St., Cochranton, on Sunday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m.
Funeral services will be held at Canal Wesleyan Methodist Church at 11 a.m. Monday, with the Rev. David Cope officiating.