1933 – 2014
LEWISTON — William Marvin Willette, 80, of Wales, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.
He was born in Kingman on Aug. 18, 1933, to Della Mae (Thompson) and Dennis Willette. One of 15 children, Bill grew up in Lewiston alongside siblings Delia, Clarence “Joe,” Lucille, Patricia, Gloria, Sandra, Sheila, George “Buddy,” Dennis “Butchie,” Manzer, Roland, John “Reggie” and Mike. He was educated in Lewiston schools and was a voracious reader. While serving in the U.S. Air Force, he met Joan Yokell in 1956, and after a brief courtship, they eloped.
Bill proudly served in the Korean Conflict and lived abroad in France. However, he loved his home state of Maine and upon leaving the Air Force, Bill joined his brother, George, at Georgio’s in Auburn. A few years later, with his brother, Dennis, Bill opened Georgio’s on Sabattus Street in Lewiston. Within a few years, Bill and Dennis started their own place, Mama Rosa’s Italian Foods, on Walnut Street in Lewiston. He owned and operated Mama Rosa’s as a family business alongside Butch, and then his wife, children and grandchildren, until retirement in 2000.
Bill was a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks Lodge in Lewiston for many years. After retirement, Bill enjoyed spending time around the house he and Joan had built and raised a family. He believed in the power of hard work and determination, and lived each day with that attitude. Bill was happiest with a full house of children and grandchildren, and was never one to shy away from a debate. His humor, sarcasm and wit will be missed.
Bill is survived by his wife of 56 years, Joan; son, Dennis, of South Berwick, and grandchildren, Brogan of Bridgton, Augden of Lewiston and Noah and Jared of Norway; daughter, JoHanna, of Lewiston, and granddaughter, Lesley (Martin) and husband, Michael, and great-grandson, Trenton, all of Monmouth, as well as grandson, William, of Auburn; daughter, Della (Thomas) and husband, Jeff, and grandchildren, Analise and Benjamin, of Newark, Del.; and son, Jonathan and wife, Shannon, of Brunswick. He is also survived by brothers, George of Lewiston and Mike and wife, Pauline, of Sabattus; and sisters, Patricia McNulty of Winslow, Lucille Popadak of Lisbon Falls, Sandra of Lewiston and Sheila Gattuso of Spencer, N.Y.
Online condolences and sharing of memories may be expressed at www.lynchbrothers.com.