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William "Bill" Minkel, 96, passed away from natural causes on August 16, 2013. He was born in Scranton, PA on October 8, 1916 to Mike and Domicealy Minkel. A few years later, the family moved to southern Illinois where Bill grew up, graduated high school, and joined the Army Air Corps. After being discharged from the Army Air Corps he worked on Grand Coulee Dam as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1942 he enlisted in the US Air Force serving in the Pacific theater during WWII; after WWII he was deployed to Germany where he met and married his wife of 66 years, Vera. While married and in the Air Force, he served at Roswell, NM, Falmouth, MA, Athens, Greece, and Las Vegas, NV, arriving in Phoenix, AZ in 1958. He retired from the USAF in 1960 at Luke AFB as a MSGT with 24 years of service. Following his Air Force career he attended Phoenix College and earned an Associate of Arts degree in accounting. He later returned to working on F-104 jet fighters in a Civil Service position as a quality assurance inspector for the German Armed Forces Training Program at Luke AFB; he retired from that position in 1984. Bill greatly enjoyed camping and the outdoors, fishing, and domestic and international travel. One of his last "adventures" was a 2-week trip up the Amazon River with Vera when he was 85 years old. Like many of the "Greatest Generation", he was loving, unassuming, honorable, tireless, patriotic, and a role model for all; family, friends, and acquaintances will miss him dearly. His wife Vera, son David, and daughter-in-law Marsha Miller survive him; his parents, and sisters Josephine Concini and Mary Duffy preceded him in death. Memorial services will be held on September 25th at 11:00 AM at West Resthaven Funeral Home, 6450 W Northern Avenue, Glendale, AZ; the family requests memorial donations be sent to the
. Arrangements entrusted to Phoenix Memorial Park & Mortuary, please visit www.phoenixmemorialmortuary.com to leave online condolences for his family.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Sept. 15, 2013