William Vogan McCloskey, 95, of Bradford, died Tuesday (Sept. 15, 2015) at the Bradford Ecumenical Home where he was a resident the last year and a half.
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Born on Nov. 11, 1919, he was the son of Mary E. (Lyle) and Lewis McCloskey.
The McCloskey family moved to Bradford when Mr. McCloskey was a small child. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Bradford, the Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout, and participated in many sports including winning the title of Jr. Champion tennis player. He was also an avid skier through his young adulthood and claimed to have helped to build a ski jump in the area.
After graduating from Bradford High School in 1937, Mr. McCloskey worked for Loblaws in Salamanca, N.Y. He married the former Martha E. Dawson of Salamanca on Oct. 17, 1942.
William served in the US Navy during World War II in the Pacific (Hawaii, Leyte Gulf, the Philippines, and Guam) on the USS Louisville. Toward the end of the war, he was based in San Francisco (Vallejo, Calif.) where his wife Martha joined him in April of 1945. He often remarked on the good times they had together there, whether walking through Fisherman's Wharf or having dinner at the Top of the Mark.
After his honorable discharge from the US Navy in September of 1945, Mr. McCloskey began working for the New York Telephone Company in Salamanca. He relocated several times with the phone company to Wellsville, Olean and Arcade, N.Y. as Wire Chief. After 37 years with the New York Telephone Company, he retired as Central Office Foreman (responsible for numerous offices in Western New York) on April 1, 1982; his wife's birthday. He said it was her birthday gift that year.
After Martha died in 1991; he married the former Ann Starkweather (Cloud, McDevitt) in August, 1992 and returned to Bradford.
William was active all of his life. He enjoyed fishing, boating, hunting deer and turkey, and he learned to play golf shortly before retirement. He said his goal was to play bogey golf, but most times, his scores were better than bogey. He was a member of the Arcade Conservation Society and the Rod and Gun Club. He was awarded many league trap shooting trophies for hi-score, hi-handicap score and Sr. hi-score. He volunteered to stock creeks and streams with fish for the NYS DEC. He was an amateur photographer taking great pride in his photographs and building his own darkroom. He enjoyed traveling, especially a trip to Alaska by car and trailer with his family.
He was generous with his family time, but he was also generous with his time in the communities he lived in. William was an active member of the Arcade Lions club as well as the Bradford Area Lions Club. He especially enjoyed delivering baskets of food at Thanksgiving and Christmas to those in need. He was an elected member of the Pioneer Central (Arcade Central) school board for 17 years, serving as Board President for four. During his service on the board, he helped facilitate a merger of three schools to establish Pioneer Central School; two schools, a high school and a middle school were built in less than seven years and continue to serve the communities today. He was a marching band booster at Pioneer, walking with the band at countless parades, picking up batons, drumsticks, flags, or assisting with a band member who became ill because of the heat; he and his wife, Martha, chaperoned many band trips. He continued his involvement with the Boy Scouts.
After his retirement from the telephone company he became a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America, helping other retirees or retirees' spouses understand their benefits. He also served on the Wyoming County Board of Mental Health. He was a member of the AARL, the National Association for Amateur Radio, as well as the Pioneer Radio Operators Society (The PROS) and the McKean County Amateur Radio Club. He was known to make contact with loved ones in various countries after natural disasters, in particular Mexico and South America for exchange students so they could learn their families were safe. He enjoyed making contacts around the world. He taught Morse code and helped many obtain their HAM radio operators license. He would join McKean County Club members when they would go to the Bradford Children's Home to teach them how to operate a HAM radio and how to make contacts with other HAM radio enthusiasts.
Mr. McCloskey was a 72 year member of the Great Valley Masonic Lodge and the Scottish Rite Valley of Coudersport Consistory; he was also a member of the Arcade VFW.
When he returned to Bradford, William was one of the founding members and by-laws co-signers of the Bradford Area High School Alumni Association. He was elected Vice President at the first dinner meeting held in June of 2004. He wrote and published the newsletter for many years and was the initial promoter of the BAHS Alumni website.
"I've always thought him to be a great man and well loved," said one of his daughters. "And listening to old and new friends speak of him, confirms this. He was witty and engaging. People opened up to him. I miss him."
Mr. McCloskey was predeceased by his wife, Martha, in 1991, his wife, Ann, in 2013, and his sister Katherine (Kay) Gorton in 2004.
He is survived by his daughters, Carol A. (Gerald) Foster, Cynthia S. (Gordimir Magdic) McCloskey; granddaughters Shannon R. (Timothy)Foster Larson and Jamee H. Foster; and great-grandchildren Emilee Martha Larson and Colin Timothy Larson as well as several nieces and a nephew. He is also survived by his stepchildren, Frederick (Vera) Cloud and Janet (Michael) McDevitt Clark; two stepgrandchildren and four stepgreat-grandchildren.
Friends are invited to attend a memorial service on Oct. 4 at 1: p.m. at the First United Methodist Church with Alan D. Trotter Jr. associate pastor, officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his memory can be made to the Bradford Area Public Library, 67 West Washington St., Bradford, PA 16701 or the Greater Bradford Senior Activity Center, Inc., 60 Campus Dr., Bradford, PA 16701.
Arrangements are under the care of the Mascho Funeral Home Inc.
Online condolences can be expressed at www.maschofuneral.com.
Mascho Funeral Home Inc.
75 Kennedy Street
Bradford, PA 16701
Published in The Bradford Era from Sept. 19 to Sept. 24, 2015