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William Southard passed away August 26th at the SLMC, Long Term Care, Yerington. He was 85. Bill was born Feb 2, 1929 in Horseheads, NY the son of Albert & Alice Southard. He served in the US Navy and Navy Reserve 1946-1955. He joined the Vale, OR volunteer fire department in 1948 and was elected chief in 1953. He met Wilma McCain and they were married on June 19, 1949. Bill became a full-time firefighter in Caldwell, ID in 1953 where he became the training officer for the department. In 1961, he became the first paid firefighter in the Yerington-Mason Valley fire department and was elected chief in 1962. Bill was instrumental in building the fire department into what it is today. He served as chief until his retirement in 1985. He also served as Lyon County fire marshal/chief. Some of Bill's many accomplishments include: He established a cadet program which produced many professional firefighters. He established the Central Lyon County Fire Protection District and managed it for 14 years. He worked to establish EMS programs locally and throughout the state. He promoted the establishment of the Nevada State Fire Marshal's Office through legislation. He was appointed by Governor List to the Nevada State Firemen's Training Advisory Committee. In 1997, he received Nevada's Distinguished Fire Service Recognition Award. After his retirement, Bill and Wilma enjoyed traveling and spending winters in Yuma, AZ. Bill is survived by his wife, Wilma; his children Shirley (Jim) Bryan, Becky (Andy) Minister, Bill (Jill) Southard & Jeanne (Gene) McLaughlin; grandchildren James (Laurie), Joe, Sheri & Josh (Kate) Bryan, Andrea (Nathan) Sielaff, Stephen (LeAnn) Minister, Kevin (Meredith) Minister, Leanne & Kelli Minister, Amanda (Bryan) Spece, Ethan Southard, Brandon (Rachel) McLaughlin & Chelsey McLaughlin. He is also survived by 13 great grandchildren and a sister, Cynthia Rogers. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters, Patricia & Carol, and great grandson Kayden Southard. Bill's memorial service will be held 2:00 pm Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at the Faith Lutheran Church, 12 N. West Street, Yerington. A reception will follow the memorial service at the fire station. Family and Friends are invited to sign his online guest book at www.FRFH.net, sympathy cards may be sent directly to his wife, Wilma from this site. Donations can be made in Bill's name to the Yerington-Mason Valley Fire Department Honor Guard. Arrangements are under the direction of Freitas Rupracht Funeral Home, Yerington (775) 463-2911
Freitas-Rupracht Funeral Home
25 Hwy 208
Yerington, NV 89447
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on Aug. 31, 2014