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7601 E. Indian School Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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Bill Wilhoit


1931 - 2020
Bill Wilhoit Obituary
Bill Wilhoit

Joseph William "Bill" Wilhoit, 88, was called home by our Lord, on January 5, 2020. Bill was born in Wickenburg, Arizona on December 2, 1931 to Francis A. and Christine Wilhoit. His family moved to Phoenix when he was 4, and he continued to live there all his life. Bill married his college sweetheart, Terry, on June 6, 1953 and celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary last year. Bill was preceded in death by his dear wife, Terry, his daughter Pamela, his parents and his sister, Betty.

Once he was married, Bill took over the running of Phoenix Fuel from his father. At that time, it consisted of a service station, a small bulk plant and two small trucks. Over the next 44 years, he continued to build the company serving the entire state providing fuel, oil, and cardlock fueling stations. Bill loved the thrill of selling and the challenge of problem solving. He enjoyed working with his wonderful drivers, sales team, accounting staff, collections and IT experts, and his amazing management team. They were like his extended family, and Bill treasured the years he ran Phoenix Fuel. Bill and Terry sold Phoenix Fuel to Giant Industries in 1997. Giant Industries was later purchased by Western Refining, which was owned by two of his former Phoenix Fuel management team. Bill was so proud that Phoenix Fuel was under their control.

Bill enjoyed being part of Executives' Association of Greater Phoenix (EAGP). He made life-long friends there and was a frequent customer of several of their businesses. Bill enjoyed hearing about the members' businesses and visiting with friends at the Thursday morning meetings, until poor health caused him to retire.

Bill and Terry valued their long-time friends and continued to be active with them until the very end. Both of their deaths have left holes in many hearts.

Bill and Terry were both graduates and avid fans of ASU all their married life, as were most of their family. They had season tickets for 53 years, until poor health caused them to give up their great seats and precious parking spot. They were active for many years with the President's Club, and they were pleased to sponsor many ASU graduate students in the Sciences through the ARCS Foundation. Bill and Terry continued to be generous philanthropists.

Bill was a gifted woodworker. He made, with the help of Jaime Martinez, 13 cedar hope chests for the women in his family, and many heirloom furniture pieces treasured by his family.

Bill is survived by his sister, Eleanor Henry, her husband Chester Henry, daughter Kathy Lahowetz, son-in-law Jim Lahowetz, son William F. "Bill" Wilhoit and daughter-in-law Candis Wilhoit. He was so proud of his grandchildren Emily Foldes, her husband Stephen, Ben Lahowetz, and step-granddaughter Brooke Fether, her husband Jason. He loved to buy special toys for his great-grandchildren James, Eliza and Cora Foldes, and princess dresses for the girls. Bill was also godfather to Maryell Martinez, daughter of cherished family friends Jaime and Terry Martinez.

Bill will always be remembered for being a hard-working and successful businessman, a wise father and loyal friend, and for his ability to make his friends and employees feel like they were part of his family.

There will be a visitation on January 16, 2020 from 4:00 to 7:00 with the Rosary held at 7:00 at Messinger's Mortuary, 7601 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale. The Funeral Mass will be held on January 17, 2020 at 10:30 at the Casa located at 5802 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale. The family will honor Bill with a private burial. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Bill's name to the Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral School Scholarship Fund. Memories may be shared at www.messingermortuary.com webpage.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Jan. 10 to Jan. 15, 2020
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