William "Bill" Darush, 84, of Neptune Beach, Fla., died peacefully at his home on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Born Feb. 1, 1937, in Chicago, Ill., he was the son of Christine Evans and Harry Darush and step-son of Joseph Evans. He spent 48 memorable years with the love of his life, Cheryl Mahon.
With his dad, Joseph, in the Navy, Bill called many places home. Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Florida, the homes of his children and their families, held the most memories.
He graduated High School in Massillon, Ohio and attended college at Lake Forest, Ill. where he served as President of Kappa Sigma graduating with a B.A. in English.
As an avid reader, he collected thousands of books, some first editions, and had a writing talent that was on display in the handwritten cards to his grandchildren and the numerous letters he would pen to the Beaches Leader to persuade them to run more sports stories.
He owned and operated the Deer Path Inn in Roulette before he moved to Florida and started Bil-Dar Construction, where he worked until his retirement in 2016.
Bill, lovingly referred to as 'the mayor' by some, had a passion for sports. He rooted for the Ohio State Buckeyes, spent years as a baseball coach for his son's teams, and didn't miss a home Fletcher baseball or basketball game. He knew each player by name and stats, and they all lovingly called him Gramps. He loved when live streaming became available, so from states away, he could watch his grandson's baseball and football games.
With a gift for conversation, he would freely share his opinion and developed a network of friends at the ballfields and in his neighborhood. Lovingly referred to as 'Pops,' one sports announcer would mention him in segments, which brought him great pride.
With a sharp wit and love of music, Jeopardy was his favorite show and he would belt out "Blue Suede Shoes" and his best-loved Sinatra's "I Did it my Way." No lyrics could be truer of the way he lived his life. His guilty pleasures, lottery tickets and card games, brought him great joy and we think he may have hit the jackpot as he entered Heaven.
His greatest legacy, his family, loved his indomitable spirit and 'do as I say' approach. He will be deeply missed, but they will continue to celebrate his life through stories.
Surviving are, Cheri Mahon of Neptune Beach, Fla.; a son, David (Darlene) Darush of Roulette; two daughters, Allison (Kevin) Brda of Elk Grove, Ill. and Melissa Mulroy of Schaumburg, Ill; two step-sons, Troy (Marcie) Shall of Clarion and Tony (Suzanne) Shall of Jacksonville, Fla. and a very close nephew, Richard Sherwood of Jacksonville, Fla.; fifteen grandchildren, Amie (Aaron) Diehl, Jamie (Kevin) Hackett, Kristin (Kerry) Hawver, Davey (Melanie) Darush, Lindsay Lovell, Dustin Darush, Kylie (Dwight) Clifford, Brittany Brda, Megan Mulroy, Ashley Mulroy, Gracie Darush, Riley Shall, Cooper Shall, Alex (Kylie) Shall, Carter Shall; 21 great-grandchildren; a cousin, Fred (Peggy) Briggs of the Villages, Fla. and several nieces and nephews.
A private memorial will be held at a later date.
Memorials can be made to the RBI Roulette Project sponsored by To Fill a Backpack, or Fletcher High School Baseball Team at 700 Seagate Neptune Beach, FL 32266.
Condolences can be made to [email protected]
Pleases visit the online tribute at www.quinn-shalz.com.
Arrangements by Quinn-Shalz Family Funeral Home, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
Published by Potter Leader-Enterprise from Nov. 8 to Nov. 15, 2021.