William J. Silva

William J. Silva 71, of Bisbee died in his home on Friday, February 7, 2014. Though it was an unexpected death, his close family was by his side. William "Bill" Silva, an Arizona Pioneer descendent, was born in Fort Huachuca on July 13, 1942, to parents, Aurora and Roberto Silva. Growing up in Fort Huachuca as a young child and in Bisbee as a young adult, he spent many days working at his father's dry cleaning business located in Brewery Gulch and exploring Cochise County with his siblings and friends. This included fishing with his father, breaking wild horses, sledding down mine shafts, riding bulls and watching films at the movie theater in Bisbee, the Lyric. It was on one of his trips to the movies he met and quickly fell in love with a ticket booth attendant who would later become his wife. Bill married Mary Ida Silva, daughter of Lupe and Leon Garcia, in her parents' backyard at Bisbee Junction in 1964. They had three children, whom they raised together in Bisbee until Ida's death in 1996, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Bill served as miner for Phelps Dodge until 1979 and moved on to working for roads and pavement services in Fort Huachuca. It was through hard work he became a Chief Estimator for the Planning and Estimation Division at Fort Huachuca. He retired in 1997. Bill was an outstanding veteran in the Arizona community. At the age of 17, he joined the Navy and sailed throughout the Pacific and Atlantic oceans on the USS Bonhomme Richard as a Third Class Petty Officer. When he arrived back to Arizona, he involved himself with the National Veterans of Foreign Wars organization and quickly became a VFW Post Commander and later a State Commander, where he used his talents to establish numerous VFW posts all over Southern Arizona. It was this opportunity that lead him to meet former President George Bush Sr. in 1989. He was also the Aide-de-camp to the National VFW Commander Gunner Kent. In his final years Bill volunteered at the VA Hospital and Clinic in Sierra Vista. He was also a loving man of God who devoted his time as a community member in St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Over the years he contributed in many ways, including being a past Eucharist minister, a Fall Festival Chairman, event organizer and a member of the Parish Pastoral Council. Bill was also a past Faithful Navigator 4th Degree Knight of the Knights of Columbus and he served as a Grand Knight. More recently he was a financial secretary for the Knights of Columbus Mother Council 863, the first council established in Arizona. Besides his community work, Bill was an outstanding father, grandfather and was lucky enough to find love again. When he was not busy with home projects, fishing with his grandsons, helping out Cecelia Delgado's third grade class, or preparing himself for the annual Silva tamale making gathering, you could find him traveling the country with his partner, Rosalie Doty and loving on their pet dog, Max. Bill lived a million lives as a son, brother, father, husband, uncle, veteran, miner, teacher and friend. He touched a lot of people and will be missed greatly. Bill was preceded in death by wife, Mary Ida Silva; father, Roberto Silva; mother, Aurora Silva and brothers, Henry and Roberto Silva. Bill is survived by his children, Teresa Reyna (Benjamin), Pamela Munsey (Norman) and William "Billy" Silva (Lisa); partner, Rosalie Doty; brother, Richard Silva (Mary); sisters, Virginia Perry (Daryl), Laura Chavez (Mark), Patricia Silva and Cecelia Delgado (Jose); 13 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many friends, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. Memorial Services will be at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Bisbee with a Rosary Mass scheduled for Friday, February 14, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. and the Funeral Mass for Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. Burial will take place following the Funeral Service at Evergreen Cemetery. Donations may be made in Bill's memory to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Published in the Arizona Daily Star from Feb. 13 to Feb. 14, 2014