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Bill was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 7, 1945. He was the oldest of three children. At the tender age of five, Bill relocated with his family to Yuma. Bill's family owned and operated Stan's Grocery and Laundry in Yuma for more than thirty-five years. Following his graduation from Kofa High School, he attended Arizona Western College and later Arizona State University where he earned a BA and MA Degree in Business Education from Arizona State University. Bill also received an Ed D in Higher Education Administration from the University of Arizona. Bill worked for Tucson Public Schools, Pima Community College, The University of Arizona, Eastern Arizona College and the Arizona Department of Education. He has served on Safford's Public School Governing Board for twelve years. Bill was a successful small businessman, owning and operating nine McDonald's Restaurants, seven radio stations and served as the CEO of WSK Management. He actively served in the Gila Valley community and the state of Arizona including the Boy Scouts, Ronald McDonald houses in Phoenix, Tucson and Albuquerque and the Boys and Girls Clubs. Bill served in the Arizona House of Representatives as Chairman of the Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance and a member of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees. He was a former member of the Mount Graham Regional Medical Center's Operating Board and is a past president. Bill also served in various capacities in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints including Stake President of the Safford Arizona Stake, Bishop, Sunday School Instructor and Home Teacher. Bill entered into eternal life, at the age of 67, on Wednesday evening, October 17, 2012, at his residence, surrounded by his loving family. Bill leaves to mourn: his beloved wife, Cathy, of Safford, two daughters, Kristine and Sara, each of Safford; and two sons, Michael and David, of Safford; his sister Becky, of St. Louis, Missouri; and ten grandchildren. Bill was predeceased by: his wife, Jan; his mother and father, Tina and Stanley Konopnicki; and a brother, Terry. Funeral services for Bill will be conducted Saturday morning, October 27, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Safford Stake Center, 501 West Catalina Drive in Safford, by Bishop Chris Bierman of the Safford Sixth Ward. Concluding services will follow in the Safford Cemetery. The family will receive friends Friday evening, October 26, 2012, , from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., at the Vining Funeral Home, 1940 South 20th Avenue in Safford and Saturday morning from 10:00 a.m. until 10:45 a.m., at the Stake Center Relief Society Room. The family suggests donations be made in Bill's memory to the William Konopnicki Communication Studies Scholarship at http://www.eac.edu/alumni/giving/gift.asp#Now or you may send a check payable to the Eastern Arizona College Foundation and mail to the Eastern Arizona College 3697 W. Church Street, Thatcher, AZ 85552. Online condolences may be offered at viningfuneralhome.com Arrangements are entrusted to Vining Funeral Home.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Oct. 21, 2012