COLRAIN - William M. ""Bill"" Waldsmith, Jr. of Colrain, formerly of Sudbury, died unexpectedly at home on Friday, Sept. 6. He went in the manner he always wanted; quickly and on his backhoe working hard for his family. He was 66 years old.
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Bill spent the first 5 years of his life on a farm in Pelham, NH, instilling a lifelong love of the earth and her bounty. The family moved to Boston when his father enrolled at MIT under the GI Bill.
After his father's death in 1962, the family moved to Sudbury. Bill graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in 1964, and began working for the Sudbury Highway Dept., a job lasting 38 years.
A leave of absence in the late 1960s allowed for a tour in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. Bill was honorably discharged, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. He was a lifetime member of VFW Post 1027, Hudson, MA
He married Lori (Saaristo) Durand in 1974 and shortly after adopted her three boys. The family enjoyed camping, the BigE, and having fun – and working - on their farm. Bill was widowed in 1991.
In 1993, Bill married Ingeborg ""Bing"" (Thomassen) Cyr and adopted her two children just before the birth of their son.
After retirement in 2002, he moved to Colrain. He and his wife realized their dream of building a house together, combining their diverse skills to create a lovely home where friends and family were entertained on many joyous occasions.
Bill was a hard worker who took his responsibilities seriously. He had a lifetime of stories to share, and had the ability to get a group roaring with laughter with his ""Bill-isms"" and off-color ""Bill-istics."" Always ready to lend a hand when asked, he was a participant in many a job, and was often the one responsible for its completion. He loved antique cars and trucks, good food, classical music, old blues and music from the '50s, and was an avid reader with a breadth of practical knowledge not often seen.
Besides his wife, he is survived by all the kids; his son, William M., III ""Jake"", and the five he chose: Butch, (Kelly) and Tom (Luanne) of Hudson, MA, Ed (Beth Landers) of Littleton, MA, Brendan, and Annmarie of Brighton, MA. He is also survived by his sister, Sheila Lilja (Phillip); by six grandchildren; Eddie, Austin, Emmy, Billy, Sammi and Shay; his cousin and best pal, Paul ""Greg"" Egnitz; other cousins, many loving nieces and nephews and numerous friends. His brother, Geoffrey, predeceased him in 1968.
There will be a Celebration of Bill's life at the house in Colrain on Sat., Oct. 5. Please drop a note to the family at:
for further information or to let them know you plan to attend. You may also call the family home.
Donations in Bill's memory may be made to the Friends of the Griswold Memorial Library, P.O. Box 33, Colrain, MA, 01340, The Colrain Ambulance Association, Attn Belle Dyer, 55 Main Road, Colrain, MA 01340, or The Zoe James Memorial Library Fund, American Truck Historical Society, 10380 N. Ambassador Dr., Ste. 101, Kansas City, MO 64153.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Johnson Funeral Home.
Published in The Recorder from Sept. 9 to Sept. 17, 2013