GILL - William L. Hastings, 71, a lifelong resident of Gill, died Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, following a period of illness, surrounded by his loving family.
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He was born on Sept. 18, 1941 in Montague to George E. Hastings, Sr., and Lillian M. (Killeen) Hastings and lived in the family homestead at 243 Main Road in Gill his entire life. He was educated in Gill and Montague public schools and a graduate of Turners Falls High School in the Class of 1959.
Bill married the former Ellen M. Gusan on Feb. 20, 1970. They observed their 43rd wedding anniversary on the date of his passing.
Bill is lovingly remembered by his wife, Ellen M. Hastings of Gill, and his daughter, Amanda M. Hastings and her significant other Tim Shea of Middletown, CT. Additionally, he leaves his adoring siblings: Virginia Callaghan, Jim Hastings, and Nancy Pachalis, as well as his brothers-in-law, sister-in-law and many nieces, nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews. Bill will also be remembered with great affection by his friends and colleagues from the garage, aka ""The Hobby Shop,"" and is now reunited in spirit with his close friends, Mark Nelson and Jerry Hartnett, as well as his beloved dog, Chloe.
Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Jan. 26, 1960 and served as a Missile Fire Control Technician aboard the USS Midway (CVA 41) and was honorably discharged on Dec. 24, 1963. Upon his return to civilian life, he accepted a position as a transmission mechanic for the former Harold B. Myer's Garage in Greenfield, and later for the former Shelburne Falls Garage, Shelburne Falls. He opened his own business, Hastings Automatic, which was established in October of 1979 on Deerfield Street in Greenfield. He operated for 10 years in that location before moving his business to Erving, from 1989 to present.
Bill was a former member of the Greenfield and Montague BPOE lodges, as well as the Gill Fireman's Association. He served for a period of time as a special police officer for the Town of Gill. He was a member of the National Chevelle Association, where he served as a show car judge with a specialty in the 1967 Chevelle Class.
Bill enjoyed tinkering with cars and ""putzing"" around his home and workshop. He was a huge fan of NASCAR and avid follower of Jeff Gordon and the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr. He traveled extensively throughout the Northeast to attend classic car events and was a passionate General Motors, Chevelle and Harley Davidson enthusiast. Bill was also a musician who played the guitar and enjoyed Country Western music. He prided himself as a staunch Republican and a member of the ""Tea Party."" He will be forever remembered for his ""dry sense of humor"" and as ""the mechanic with a heart"" for his unparalleled fairness and generosity to his customers.
Visiting hours and services will be observed on Friday, March 1, 2013, from the McCarthy Funeral Homes, 14 Prospect St., Turners Falls, from 4 p.m. until the time of services at 6:30 with the Catholic Rite of Burial Service to be offered at that hour. Full military services will be conducted with members of the Hale-Clapp VFW Post No. 3295 to providing a firing detail, joined by members of the United States Navy in attendance to present our nation's colors.
On Saturday March 2, 2013, guests are invited to join Bill's family in the observance of a memorial remembrance service at the Gill Community Church, Main Road, Gill, (adjacent to the Town Hall) at 11 a.m. with Gary Bourbeau to officiate. A luncheon will follow in the fellowship hall of the church.
In keeping with Bill's wishes, burial will be private and at the convenience of his family following cremation. Flowers are respectfully asked to be omitted, with expressions of affection preferred in the form of a charitable donation to the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, P.O. Box 319, South Deerfield, MA 01373-0319.
The McCarthy Funeral Homes of Greenfield and Turners Falls have been entrusted with the arrangements. Guest book and condolence available at: www.mccarthyfuneralhomes.com.
McCarthy Funeral Homes
14 Prospect Street
Turners Falls, MA 01376
Published in The Recorder on Feb. 26, 2013