GREENFIELD - William F. "Bunk" Mazanec, Jr., 78, of Greenfield, died on Wednesday evening, Nov. 21, 2012, at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, following a brief illness.
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Born in Greenfield on June 7, 1934, he was the son of William F. Sr. and Edna M. (Dunbar) Mazanec. He grew up in Shelburne Falls, attending Arms Academy, where he was an outstanding athlete. After graduating in 1952, Bill signed a contract to play professional baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball organization. Later, he accepted a full scholarship to play football at Michigan State University, where he attended college.
Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany where he traveled throughout Europe playing exhibition inter-service baseball and football. Upon his discharge in 1959, a walk-on tryout with the Baltimore Orioles baseball club was arranged by a commanding officer. When Bill returned to the United States he declined the tryout and chose instead to return to Shelburne Falls, where he met and married Donna Marie (Warriner) Mazanec in 1963.
Bill worked for a number of employers (Warner Brothers, Kendall Mills) before becoming a papermaker in the Deerfield Glassine paper factory in Monroe, where he spent 25 years. Always believing in workers' rights, Bill was elected president of the Local 1262 Paperworkers Union, where he gained a reputation as a strong advocate for better safety, fair wages, and health insurance for factory workers. He became a union organizer and endeavored to bring union rights to other factory workers in the region. Later, after the closure of the Monroe Bridge factory, Bill was employed at Incentive Community Enterprises placing handicapped individuals in meaningful and gainful employment in local businesses for many years, and Edward Jones, where he sold insurance.
He was predeceased by his wife Donna, who died in 1995. Bill later relocated to Florida where he wed Sheila Conklin. In his retirement down South, he became a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer and enjoyed numerous visits with his children and grandchildren. In 2009, Bill returned to Franklin County where he resided until his death.
Bill always believed in public service and helping his community and he involved himself in many local political elections and causes over the years. Along with his wife Donna, he was a member of Trinity Church in Shelburne Falls, and the two often volunteered their services in many capacities. Bill was a catalyst in founding and organizing girls' soccer at Mohawk Trail Regional High School in the 1980s. He maintained a strong interest in sports and politics and always enjoyed discussing, and many times arguing, both subjects.
An avid gardener, gentleman farmer, and animal lover, Bill spent hours tending to flower gardens, local wildlife and family pets. A naturally curious person, Bill instilled in his children the importance of education and continued his own personal quest for knowledge his entire life.
He is survived by his wife, Sheila (Conklin) Mazanec of Ormond Beach, FL; his sister, Geraldine Wheeler of Shelburne Falls; two sons, Dale W. and his wife Cathy of Springfield and the Honorable William F., III of Shelburne; two daughters, Cheryl M. Reynolds of Hawley and Nancy E. Souza and her husband Daniel of West Hartford, CT; and eight grandchildren, Ian, Jacob, Brandon, Morgan, Nicole, Nathan, Chris and Maya, who will miss him greatly.
Calling hours will be Sunday, Nov. 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Kostanski Funeral Home, 220 Federal St., Greenfield.
A graveside service will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Arms Cemetery, Homestead Avenue, in Shelburne Falls.
The family would like to invite everyone to the Greenfield Grille following the graveside service.
Donations in Bill's memory can be made to the
at www.cancer.org or 30 Speen St., Framingham MA 01701-9376.
Sympathy message available at www.kostanskifuneralhome.com
Published in The Recorder from Nov. 24 to Nov. 25, 2012
Kostanski Funeral Home
220 Federal Street Greenfield, MA 01301