Jan. 30, 2013
William Wesley Rawls, 86, of Mountain Top, died on Jan. 30 at Smith Health Care and Nursing Home in Mountain Top.
Mr. Rawls was born in Ocala, Fla. on March 4, 1926, to the late Charles B. Rawls and Stella (Cleveland) Rawls. As pioneer settlers in Ocala, the Rawls family began arriving to the area in the 1820s.
William was a graduate of Ocala High School. Upon graduation, he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps and served in France and Germany at the end of World War II. After returning from the war, he attended the University of Miami, where he obtained degrees in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. He was a member of the football and track teams in high school and college. As a member of the University of Miami track team, his personal record in the mile was only 12 seconds more than the world record at that time.
While attending college, Mr. Rawls met his future wife, Marilyn Gloria Favaloro, of New York City. Following graduation, he obtained employment with Cornell Iron Works and moved to New York City. Later he would move to a new home on Long Island.
He retired from Cornell after 43 years but continued to support the company as a consultant for an additional 10 years. Always interested in politics and public service, Mr. Rawls was active in the local Democratic Party in Nassau County, N.Y. and was a delegate to the 1962 New York gubernatorial convention. He also served as a member of the Nassau County Planning Commission, working as a member of the commission to study the feasibility of a bridge across Long Island Sound to New England.
Upon the relocation of Cornell Iron Works to the Crestwood Industrial Park, Mountain Top, in 1965, Mr. Rawls remained active in local politics, serving on the Wright Township Zoning Hearing Board. He also served for 10 years on the Crestwood School Board and was its president in the late 1970s.
Among his interests were travel, watching University of Miami football, and visiting and photographing lighthouses. Ultimately he and his wife, Marilyn, visited all 50 states and 350 lighthouses, compiling a book with many of these lighthouse visits.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Marilyn, who died in June 2012, and by his son, Dennis E. Rawls.
Surviving are his children: son Ronald and his wife, Gloria Rawls, Mountain Top; daughter Donna and her husband, Patrick Buckingham, Colorado Springs, Colo.; son Daniel Rawls, Wilkes-Barre; daughter Robin Crawford, Greensboro, N.C.; son Michael Rawls, Mountain Top; daughter Patricia Rawls, Wilkes-Barre; grandchildren, Cayse Ray and Joe Ray, Colorado Springs; Christina Rawls, Pittsburgh; Thomas Rawls, Chengdu Sichuan, China; Amy Rawls, West Hazleton; Carolann Rawls and Samantha Rawls, Edwardsville; Lauren Crawford, Greensboro; Tim Rawls, San Francisco, and Kayla Rawls, Wilkes-Barre; and seven great-grandchildren.
A viewing will be held at Desiderio Funeral Home in Mountain Top from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The family has requested that donations be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen in Wilkes-Barre.