HENDERSONVILLE-Ralph Leon (Bill) Gaffney, 98, passed away peacefully on December 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm at Elizabeth House in Hendersonville, NC after an extended illness. He was a great man, loved and respected by his friends and family. He will be truly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Bill was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on October 30, 1915. He was the son of the late Ralph Leon and Helen Easterling Gaffney.
He attended school in Bamberg, SC and was a graduate of Bamberg High School and attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He furthered his education at Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne, Indiana and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, NC.
Prior to World War II
Bill worked for United Fruit Company in South America and served in the Army
Engineers Corps, Fort Belvoir, Va. during World War II. After the war he was employed by J.E. Sirrine Company of Greenville, SC as resident engineer on construction projects, moving to Hendersonville from Savannah, GA and was the resident engineer for the construction of Cranston Print Works Company, Fletcher, NC. Upon completion of the plant, he stayed on with the management of the Cranston Company as Plant Engineer; later, was named Director of Energy Mobilization. Subsequently was named Director of Central Engineering for all of the company's plants. Upon retirement, he was connected with International Executive Service Corporation and served on a volunteer basis in Turkey, Morocco, Venezuela, and the Phillipines.
Bill was a long standing active member of the First Baptist Church of Hendersonville where he served as Superintendent of Adult Sunday School Department, Deacon, Chairman of Budget Planning and Treasurer of the church for 10 years. He was a member of the Hendersonville Rotary Club
and served as its' President in 1963 and 1964. Bill was a member of the YMCA Board of Directors in Hendersonvile serving as Vice-President and later President. He was Chairman of the Building Fund Campaign that resulted in the construction of the present YMCA Building. Later, Bill served as President of the Board of Directors for two terms. He was also a member of the Hendersonville Country Club and former member of the Elks Club
of Hendersonville, and the Lions Club of Edisto Beach, SC. He served one year as the Director of the Chamber of Commerce in Hendersonville.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Nell Campbell Gaffney and his youngest daughter, Nell Gaffney Harden. He is survived by his daughter, Sara Ellen Gaffney Arell and her husband Richard L. Arell of Hendersonville; his grandchildren, Deborah Arell Martinez and her husband, Edward of O'Fallon IL, Mark Richard Arell and his wife, Kim of Mooresville, NC, Brian Campbell Arell and his children, Rose and Dirk, and Christopher Arell of the home, John Trent and his wife Dorothy of Fernandina Beach, FL, Michael Trynt of High Point, NC, Lisa Berghage and her husband Scott of Fernandina Beach, FL and Keri Trent of Arden, NC. Bill was the proud great grandfather of 22 great grandchildren, Jerrica, Sara, Lucy, Campbell, Trynt, Alex, Rose and Dirk, Ryan, Kaley, Morgan, Natalie, Erik, Jolie, Jeorgie, Olivia, Amanda, Jessica, Claudia, Alison, Aaron and Marilyn and 8 great-great grandchildren. Bill was also preceded in death by his long time family friend, his beloved Dorothy M. Wood.
The family would like to express their gratitude to all of the angels who cared for him this past year during his illness and very special appreciation to his caregivers at Elizabeth House for not only taking such wonderful care of him, but of his daughter and son-in-law as well. Sara and Rich were his primary caregivers during his illness and could not have done it without the help of Pardee Home Health Nurses who were so very kind to them and to Bill, Dr. Reis, and Pardee Hospital Staff. What wonderful health care we have here in Hendersonville.
A graveside funeral service will be held at 3:00 pm on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at Oakdale Cemetery.
An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting www.thosshpherd.com.
Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements.