ATHENS- William A. Lavelle of Athens, Ohio died May 15, 2016. He was born January 18, 1925 on Franklin Avenue to Francis A. Lavelle and Elizabeth "Belle" Schloss Lavelle. Bill was the second of six children, and the oldest son; as he used to say, in his family "every other boy was a girl." The family moved to a farm on what is now Fisher Road a few years later, where Bill and his brothers operated the Lavelle Brothers Dairy Farm while growing up.
After graduation from high school, Bill served in the U.S. Army 86th Infantry Division in both theatres of World War II. Upon his return, he graduated from Ohio University and then completed law school at Ohio State University in Columbus. Bill opened his law office in 1952 on Court Street; his sister Kathleen Lavelle Shamel was his first secretary. He practiced law in Athens for sixty years. Bill married Marion H. Yanity in 1954 and they had four children: Francis A. "Frank" (Jean Ann) Lavelle of Athens, John P. (Lora) Lavelle of New Marshfield, Ohio, Lydia E. (Alicia Stemper) Lavelle of Carrboro, North Carolina, and Amy M. Lavelle (David) McCualsky (David) of Athens, Ohio. After the death of his first wife, Bill married Ann Channell Olsen in 2002. Ann passed away in 2012.
Throughout his career, Bill was active in the legal profession. He served as Solicitor for several villages in Athens County, and was Chair of the Ohio Personnel Board of Review from 1982-1990. He was a member of the Ohio State Bar Association's Council of Delegates from 1986-1989, and in 1989 was elected to its Board of Governors for a three year term. In 1990, Bill was elected as Judge of the Athens County Common Pleas Court, Probate/Juvenile Division. In 1991, he was elected to a three year term as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Continuing Legal Education Institute, an affiliate of the Ohio State Bar Association. In 1993, he was elected Chairman of that Board. After retirement as judge, he practiced law part-time.
Bill was also very active in the Democratic Party. He was fortunate to meet Mass. Senator John F. Kennedy at the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and served as his campaign coordinator in southern Ohio for his 1960 presidential campaign. Bill served as chair of the Athens County Democratic Party and went on to become the Democratic State Chairman of Ohio under Governor John J. Gillligan from 1970-74. Afterward, Bill served as a member of the Democratic National Committee. He was a delegate at six Democratic National Conventions; uniquely, he was a delegate for Al Gore at the 2000 convention in Los Angeles, California in the same city where he served as a delegate for John Kennedy forty years earlier.
Bill served on numerous public and civic boards, commissions and committees, including the Ohio University Board of Trustees, serving as chair from 1975-1981, and the Athens County Board of Elections. He was a life-long member of St. Paul's Catholic Church where he was a choir member for over forty years. Bill was a horse lover, and for many years he raised, showed and rode Tennessee Walking Horses. Bill had a rich, fulfilling life of 91 years. He always saw the glass as "half full." He leaves a wonderful legacy for his family.
In addition to Marion and Ann, Bill was predeceased by his sisters Elizabeth Lavelle Mulvaney, Kathleen Lavelle Shamel and Therese Lavelle Skinner, and his brother Phillip F. Lavelle. Survivors include his youngest sibling, John J. "Jug" (Mary Lou) Lavelle of Athens; his grandson, William H. "Billy" Lavelle of Athens; step-grandchildren Ryan (Melissa), Caleb (Kara) and Adrienne Tevis; Riley Hutchison and Avery Stemper; Randi Olsen, Kelsey Kiser and Karl Kiser; step-children Kurt (Margot) Olsen and Kristin (Bill) Kiser; and many nieces, nephews and extended family members. Additional survivors- a step-great-granddaughter, Emerson Tevis; a sister in law, Mary June Lavelle and brother in law, Donald Skinner. Additional survivors- a step-great-granddaughter, Emerson Tevis; a sister in law, Mary June Lavelle and brother in law, Donald Skinner.
Calling hours will be held at Jagers and Sons Funeral Home, Athens on Friday, May 20, 2016 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Paul's Catholic Church, Mill & College Sts., Athens, on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. Following burial at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, a reception will be held in the lower level of St. Paul's Church. Military Rites will be conducted by K.T. Crossen Post 21 American Legion, VFW Post 3477, VFW Post 9893 Honor Guards at the cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Athens Foundation, P. O. Box 366, Athens, Ohio 45701. The Athens Foundation is a philanthropic community foundation; one of its founders was Marion Lavelle. Please share a memory, a note of condolence or sign the online register book at www.jagersfuneralhome.com.