Charlotte, I was so sorry to learn of your loss. Bernie and I had so much fun with you, Bill and family in the early 1980s when we were living in Anderson Mill - neighborhood parties, impromptu get togethers and weekends skiing on the lake. My hope is that memories of happier times and the many wonderful things about Bill will help sustain you and your family during this difficult time.
With Much Love,
I just returned from the services for Mr. Collie. I have been a friend of the Collie family for the better part of forty years. I'm sitting in my office going over the days events and I and I am truly humbled of the heralded stories I have heard today about a man whom I have lived in the presence of for so many years, feeling sorry for myself that I was not able to share such a story. I have had the honor to hear such stories from Bill from time to time but had never really grasped the meaning or depth of the message perhaps I was one of those who took this for granted because longevity of knowing this family or the fact that his son is one of my closest friends and I took it for granted. The eloquence of those who spoke at the service today overwhelmed me. I sat at the back of the room tears running down my face. Not only for Bill. Not only for the Collie's. But for the jealous reasons that I fear that if it were my time such kind, heart felt, full life, love stories could not be told about me, even by the best script writers in Hollywood. I left the service feeling like the man I have known for thirty eight years, was a man I never really knew at all. Sure I have my stories with the Collie family and they are some of my favorites, but to hear others talk about it sparked old memories that I had long forgot. Call me forgetful,call me spoiled but these are the stories that I grew up with so they really are not stories to me they were part of my life, I lived it, so of course i took it for granted . After hearing all of the stories today I really feel like I have cheated myself knowing that I did have access to such a uberpersonality (trademarked) human being and that I never really took advantage of it. What I can tell you is that a great man passed away leaving a legacy,a impact on all who knew him, a wonderful wife, and a family that has a profound impact on my life. Lance I love you like a brother , but you have always known this CF
Charlotte, My heart and prayers are with you and your family.. Bill will be missed by a whole bunch of folks. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for any and all of you.
Much Love from Bernie Brammer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It is hard to believe that I met Bill almost 20 years ago...a lone man standing on a polished floor of granite...I was to meet him in Quantico at 0800 to attend Lance's graduation from MSG school...so there he was just standing in the middle of this huge foray...cheerfully commanding his own presence...after a simple introduction his first words were..."Well fine Sir, you surely would know where two gentlemen can get a drink on this fine morning."
Bill over the years always kept tabs on me...and in manner that was definitively his own, and offered himself as a mentor. I have never met a man that could say so much with so few words...
I have seen Bill laugh, and I have seen Bill cry...he laughed at the things would make most men weap, and when he cried it was when I asked him about being a father...my two children were but toddlers, we were sharing a drink when he came out to my commissioning and we were watching Lance..well being Lance... and I asked a simple question about being a father...he cracked a smile and held it, and as he did his eyes filled with tears...to me it was clear that just thought of his children overwhelmed him with joy...joy that could break Big Bill...he never did answer my question...in words...his smile and his tears...well that was the answer... we silently went back to our whiskey and watching Lance.
We all have our own definition of what a hero is...for me it is when a man gives himself without having to do so.
Bill gave himself to me blindly...he shared his compassion, temperance and friendship with me...Bill you are a hero.
I am honored that I got to be your "wheel man" that week end in DC and that you chose to be my "wheel man" in life.
Marine Gunner USMC
Charlotte, you and the rest of the family are in my thoughts and prayers. Bill was always a fun character to visit with at family gatherings and will be greatly missed. Hugs and kisses to you.