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William H. Weigle Jr.


1924 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
William H. Weigle, Jr. (Bill) was born on August 17 1924 in Tsing-Tso China to Reverend Dr. William H. Weigle, Sr. and Anna Jean Weigle, who were Episcopal missionaries in China for many years. Bill passed away on September 12 ,2018 at the age of 94.

Bill Weigle grew up in Egremont and graduated from the St. Thomas Choir School in New York City, The Choate School, and Cornell University Class of 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

Before Bill graduated from The Choate School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet for pilot training in early 1943. He earned his pilot's wings and officer's commission in March of 1944 at the age of 19.

He and his crew flew a new C-47 to England and were assigned to the 437th Troops Carrier Group whose mission was to carry the 82nd Airborne Division into the Battle of Market Garden also known as "The Bridge Too Far" by the towing gliders, dropping paratroopers and supplies from very low altitudes in the battle. Following this battle, it was his honor to have flown gasoline and resupply missions to General George S. Patton's Army which was fighting across France in pursuit of the German Army.

In December 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, the 437th Group dropped ammunition, food, weapons, fuel and supplies from very low altitudes to the surrounded 101st Airborne troopers. During this battle, they then flew wounded soldiers from Liege, Belgium back to England.

Following World War II, Weigle stayed active in the U.S. Airforce Reserves and was recalled to active duty as an all-weather flight instructor pilot in the 122nd Fighter Group based in the States. His World War II decorations included the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster including battle stars for the Europe Africa Middle East, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe.

Following his honorable discharge and graduation from Cornell University, he returned to Egremont where he worked on the family farm for several years. He was hired by the Clark Aiken Company as their Chief Pilot and logged over 8,000 hours as pilot in command including military flight hours. He was later hired by Lenox Machine Company, working in their sales, service and marketing departments. This involved extensive travel to Canada, France, Germany, Finland, New Zealand and Australia. He retired from Beloit-Lenox in 1990.

During his residency in Egremont, he served as Selectman, Moderator, and was Vice Chairman of the Egremont Finance Committee. He also volunteered many hours going to military bases to acquire surplus generators, large loaders, firefighting equipment, water trailers, and trucks for Massachusetts towns and cities.

As a 46 year veteran of the Egremont Volunteer Fire Department, Weigle was active in installing fifteen draft fire hydrants for public fire protection as no cost to Egremont's taxpayers. He wrote the Insurance Services Organization engineering manual which helped lower the fire insurance rating from the costly Class 9 rating to a Class 6 I.S.O. rating which reduced fire premiums by 25% for businesses and homes served by these draft hydrants. The first year's savings were estimated at $80,000 to $90,000 for certain Egremont residents. In fact, Weigle installed the very first draft hydrant in Berkshire County on his property with the help of Egremont firefighters Lane Farnum and David Weigle.

In order to protect life and property in Egremont's two fire stations, he and firefighter Tony Delmaso installed automatic fire sprinklers from the Life Saving Systems, Inc. of New Hampshire.

Weigle is survived by his wife of 71 years, Jean J. Weigle, and children William J. Weigle (Belle) of New Boston, New Hampshire and their children Ensign James Weigle, Carl and Margaret; J. Peter Weigle of Old Lyme, CT and his daughter Lisa, and David B. Weigle of Egremont and his son Travis, and daughter Margaret (Peggy) Weigle of Corrales, NM and her husband Greg Pflum.

There will be no calling hours. Burial will take place at the convenience of the family. Contributions in his memory may be made to Animal Humane New Mexico, 615 Virginia St. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108, www.animalhumanenm.org. Services entrusted to BIRCHES-ROY FUNERAL HOME. Condolences may be made through birchesroyfuneralservices.com.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle from Sept. 16 to Sept. 19, 2018
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