1944-2012 Longtime Pittsfield educator William Stickney died on December 19 at home.
Bill was born May 17, 1944 in Lynn, Mass. to
Dorothy Crocker Stickney and Allan Dean Stickney. He was the 12th of 13 children. He was born with spinal bifida and felt the effects of it throughout his life, but it never stopped him.
At 17 he left Lynn for Indiana, where he earned his bachelor's degree in English at Franklin College. He then attended Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, before returning to New England to earn a Master's Degree in Reading.
Bill worked as an English and Reading teacher in various schools in New England, until a part-time job with Dorothy Amos teaching adult evening classes would change the focus of his career. Inspired by her commitment to the idea of Adult education, Bill set out to turn Mrs. Amos' dream of a fulltime adult education center in Pittsfield into a reality. He worked tirelessly to convince the community of the value of the idea of an Adult Education Center, and succeeded.
The Adult Learning Center opened its doors in 1976. The Center began by offering preparation for the GED exam but later expanded to offer many additional services, such as citizenship classes, English as a second language classes, and Adult Diploma. For the next 30 years he was Director of the Adult Learning Center, receiving numerous awards as an administrator over that period. The Center in Pittsfield is recognized as a model for how an adult education program should work throughout the state. He credited his hard-working staff, many of them who were with him for years, as being instrumental in the Center's success. As its director he was guided by his warmth, compassion and determination. He firmly believed that everyone deserved a second chance at education. In 2005 he was awarded Massachusetts Administrator of the Year.
He retired From the Center in 2006, satisfied the program had finally been built into what he had originally envisioned. He felt confident leaving the Center in the capable hands of Vinnie Szymanski. It is open to this day serving the community at its current location on North Street.
Bill was a devoted public servant and well-known member of the community. He was also, a vocal spokesman for and advocate for the ADA.
In his spare time, he was a voracious reader, who enjoyed everything from mystery novels to The New York Times and various online new sites. He loved politics and followed current events closely. He also enjoyed cooking and his creations were wide-ranging, from baking bread, (which he gave out on Christmas), to making Vietnamese Spring rolls. He enjoyed computers and loved dogs. His pug Buster was a constant companion, and could be seen riding alongside him in the passenger seat of his car, or by his desk at work. They were the best of friends. He loved spending time with his family and also enjoyed vacationing in Wells Beach, Maine.
Although he had many physical challenges in his life, Bill accomplished so much. He will always be remembered and missed by all those who loved him, and by those whose lives he touched.
Bill leaves his wife, the former Anne Potter, whom he married on July 5, 1969 at St. Agnes Church in Dalton; two sons. Jon and his wife Julia of Lee, Billy and his wife Alexis of San Diego, as well as his grandson Griffin of San Diego, with whom he loved to talk. He also leaves his brothers Charlie, Arthur, Bruce and his sisters Dottie and Betty. He also leaves many cousins, nieces, nephews and numerous other family members.
He was predeceased by his parents and four brothers, Dick, Russell, Robert and Allan; and three sisters, Barbara Neff, Charlotte Roland and Pauline Stickney.
FUNERAL NOTICE: Funeral Services for Mr. William Stickney will be Friday, December 28, 2012 at 12 noon at the DWYER FUNERAL HOME, 776 North Street, Pittsfield, Mass. Burial will follow in Pittsfield Cemetery. Calling hours at the funeral home will be Thursday December 27, 2012 from 4 to 6 p.m.
The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations in his name be made to The Adult Learning Center in care of Dwyer Funeral Home. Please visit www.dwyerfuneral.com to leave condolences and remembrances.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Dec. 26, 2012