VERO BEACH, Fla. - William C. Johnson, 91, of Vero Beach, died on Friday Nov. 16, 2012, after a brief illness.
Bill was born on Aug. 9, 1921, and spent his childhood in Valley Stream, N.Y. Bill was an all-star student-athlete at Chaminade High School, Mineola, N.Y., excelling in football, baseball and track. Bill graduated in 1943 from the University of Notre Dame
, where he was a member of the track team. During World War II
, Bill served in the U.S. Navy
from 1943 to 1945 and was awarded the Purple Heart
after being wounded in the Battle of Guam and the Bronze Star for bravery.
On April 27, 1957, Bill married Dorothy Jane Heinle, a widowed mother of three young boys. Bill was a successful operations manager for Grand Union Supermarkets in the metro New York/New Jersey area and in 1964, he moved the family to Amherst, N.H., and managed the company's New England operations. Bill was an executive with Susse Chalet Hotels for a number of years and helped the company expand throughout New England. He established his own franchise in 1972. In 1984, Bill and Dorothy semi-retired to Vero Beach. Bill was active in his community of "Sea Oaks," volunteering on committees to preserve beaches and serving as chairman of the Indian River County Utilities Committee.
Bill was well-known for his extensive volunteer work. He served as Hillsborough County's Republican Committee chairman, co-founded Amherst's now famous July 4th Parade and was a leader of the Souhegan Valley Handicap Association ("Opportunity Networks"). He also helped create the Amherst Recreation Commission, which led to Little League Baseball and the league's first diamonds at Spaulding Field. Bill was also instrumental with the town's initial Pop Warner Football program and the purchase of the Baboosic Lake Town Beach and Park.
Bill was a loving, dedicated father and husband. He was preceded in death by his son Matthew, and is survived by his beloved partner Dorothy; his daughter Jennifer; sons Tony and wife Linda, Corry and wife Tammy, Michael, Patrick and wife Darice; daughter-in-law Johanna; grandchildren, Christopher and SJ Lee, Katie and Douglas Letheren, Ben and Will Johnson, Emma Jane Johnson, Ciara Johnson, Mitchell, Corey and Dustin Larriva.
services: A memorial service will be held at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 34 Amherst Street, Milford, on Friday, Dec. 7, at 3:15 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made for Alzheimer's Research at www.alz.org
or to the Amherst Recreation Commission, for Little League Baseball, by mailing "Amherst Recreation Commission, 4 Cross Road, Amherst, 03031.