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1920 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
POTERBA, William S. William S. Poterba passed away peacefully on December 27, 2017 at the age of 97 with his children, Annemarie and James, by his side. He was born on May 25, 1920 in New York City to Michael and Pauline Poterba, both Ukrainian immigrants to the United States. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn during the Great Depression with a specialization in business and was fortunate to land a job as a delivery boy. He soon became an office assistant, due to his book-keeping and typing skills. William enlisted in the army as a private in 1942 and was promoted to corporal, sergeant and ultimately warrant officer before his discharge in 1945. He served in North Africa and Italy, and received the Bronze Star for meritorious service. William's successful Army career was an early sign of his extraordinary capacity for hard work and loyalty. His superiors tried to persuade him to make a career of the Army when World War II ended, but having lost his mother just before the start of the war, and his sister just as the war ended, his commitment to his father and younger brother Al pulled him back to civilian life in Brooklyn. He joined the National Starch Company and enrolled as a night student at the City College of New York (CCNY), where he majored in accounting. After several years, he switched jobs and became an accountant at Pathe, a film company. He subsequently moved to E. R. Squibb, a pharmaceutical company, where he was both an accountant and systems analyst. He retired in 1982. William met his future wife, Margaret Toale, a New York City school teacher, at a YWCA dance class in New York City. They enjoyed weekend beach trips to Silver Point, on the South Shore of Long Island, where he and Al rented a cabana to stow their gear for surf fishing. They were passionate striped bass fisherman. William and Margaret married in July 1957 and moved to Flushing, NY. After the birth of their second child, they moved to Plainview on Long Island. William commuted daily on the Long Island Rail Road. He was an active member of the Holy Name Society at St. Pius X Roman Catholic parish in Plainview. In 1972, when E.R. Squibb's headquarters moved from New York to Lawrenceville, NJ, the family relocated to Yardley, PA, where they enjoyed a much more rural lifestyle than the one that they had experienced on Long Island. While living there, they enjoyed many summer beach trips to the New Jersey shore as well as holidays in the Pocono Mountains. After his retirement, William and Margaret enjoyed traveling to destinations near and far with friends and family-they both loved being on the move and experiencing new places and cuisines. After more than 25 happy years in Yardley, William and Margaret were ready for a new adventure. They decided to move to Roswell, GA in 1998 to be closer to their daughter Annemarie and her family, and to avoid the harsh Northeastern winters. They became active members of the senior community at Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Alpharetta and truly enjoyed their new life in the South. Margaret passed away in 2002 and four years later, William moved into the St. George Village independent living community in Roswell. He was involved in many activities and made many new friends. He often said that his years at SGV were some of his best, and that his only regret was that he could not share them with Margaret. William set a remarkable example for others in every season of life, and modeled important life lessons. He was a loyal and devoted son, a decorated patriot, a loving husband and father, an engaged and active "empty nester," and a life-loving optimist in his final years. His sharp mind and wit remained intact to his final day, and no detail escaped him in a conversation. An exchange with him often ended with a pointed question or challenge, and he often amazed caregivers with his lucid and detailed accounts of his conditions. William is survived by his son James, daughter-in- law Nancy, daughter Annemarie and son-in- law Henry, and four grandchildren-Christopher, Margaret, Matthew and Timothy. They will miss him terribly. William has been laid to rest in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, alongside his beloved wife Margaret, in Hawthorne, NY. Those who wish to donate in William's memory may contribute to the Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS Fund) at the link below: As his sight was failing in his final years, William enjoyed many good books on tape through this wonderful program.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jan. 7, 2018
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