1923 ~ 2014|
Bill Gorrell has eaten his last apple pie. He passed away peacefully on April 20, Easter Sunday, at Canyon Creek Care Center of causes incident to age. He was 90.
Dad was born December 1, 1923 in Denver, CO. to Frank Elton and Sarah Skelly Gorrell, the second of five children. After growing up on a small dairy farm during the hard times of the Depression, Bill embarked on the grand journey of his life when he was drafted into World War II. Postings with the infantry, Army Air Force and Army Corps of Engineers took this shy farm boy to Sikeston, MO., where he proudly logged 137 solo flying hours in pilot training, then on to Miami, where he saw the city being boarded up as a hurricane approached, to D.C. where he went to the Stage Door Canteen (loving the song "My Gal's a Corker/She's a New Yorker …"), and on to Philadelphia and New York City, where he saw Bob Feller pitch at Yankee Stadium and appeared on the Blind Date program. "I took the money and not the date," he always joked.
Back in Denver a couple of years later, he approached Joyce Holstrom at a CYO dance. But he first asked the girl next to her to dance, something Joyce never let him forget in a 63-year marriage that began June 24, 1950. By then, Bill worked for GMC Truck and Coach Division. He became a district manager, in Denver and Cheyenne before being transferred to Salt Lake in 1958. Responsible for collecting truck orders from dealers across Utah and Southern Idaho in the pre-computer world, he drove about 23,000 miles a year - getting to know every good pie place around. The GM folks all joked about it at his retirement party in 1984. After that, he worked part-time at several Salt Lake GMC dealerships before becoming one of the old duffers at Forest Dale, where he loved Mac the pro. He puttered in his yard for hours on end, taking millions of pictures of his flower beds. But more than anything, he loved going daily to McDonald's at 7200 South 900 East for a senior coffee and two apple pies, which he'd devour while reading The Salt Lake Tribune cover to cover and hanging out with an extended group of people who became dear, dear friends. Thanks to all of you. Then he'd walk laps inside Fashion Place Mall, stopping to share stories with Paul Sawaya and the Massey's Jewelers staff.
Above all, Bill was a devoted family man. Among his final words were "you're my sweetheart" to his beloved Joyce. He was a marvelous dad to his kids, Mike and Debbie, but because he missed much of their childhoods being on the road so much, he doted on his grandchildren and was a constant fixture at their sporting events, musical recitals and other performances. Dad also was revered by our family dog, Mandy. He enjoyed his bridge group and their trips to Bear Lake, the tours he and Joyce took to Ireland and Germany, eating out, going to the bank and asking for "money that lasts" and all things Colorado - the mountains, the Rockies, the Buffaloes and most of all, the Broncos. He was a longtime parishioner of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.
Bill is survived by his widow Joyce; son Mike (Kathleen Brown); daughter Debbie Edwards (Roger); grandsons Patrick and Ian Gorrell-Brown, and Randall (Ali) and Carl Edwards; sister Eileen Silverman Peckham (Herb). He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Rose and Dorothy; and brother Jim.
A wake celebrating his life will be held on Thursday, May 1st from 6-8 p.m. at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 2nd at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 1385 Spring Lane, Salt Lake City.
The family would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Bill's many loving caregivers at Canyon Creek, Garden Terrace and Hospice for Utah. You guys were great.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the
Online condolences may be offered at www.starksfuneral.com
Published in Deseret News from Apr. 27 to Apr. 29, 2014