1934 – 2016

AUBURN — William Donald Willett, 81, of Poland, died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Hospice House.

He was born in Montpelier, Vt., to the late Erva and Emil Willett on April 24, 1934.

Bill was an accomplished athlete at St. Michael’s High School in Vermont and enrolled in ROTC at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. He left college to enlist in the U.S. Air Force, and he served in the Korean War. He settled in Hartford, Conn., and had a successful career in real estate managing large commercial properties. As the director of the Glastonbury Housing Authority, he developed the first congregant housing and also greatly increased the subsidized units available in the town. After moving to Maine, Bill served as the executive director of the South Portland Housing Authority, during which time he developed the Betsy Ross House for seniors.

In his retirement, Bill became Poland’s assistant code enforcement officer and later the code enforcement officer for Mechanic Falls. He served on the New England Association of Housing and Redevelopment board as treasurer and on the National Board of Governors for NAHRO. Some of his proudest achievements came from his years as a young Boy Scout and as an elder Scout, serving as a troop leader for many years and also as a member of the Connecticut Long Rivers Council. Bill was a voracious reader, an avid sailor, a competitive shooter and a motorcycle enthusiast. He loved the wildlife of Maine, college sports, the Yankees and his family.

Bill is survived by his loving wife of 24 years, Sandra Knowles and her children, Amy Slemmer and her daughter, Cynthia Ann Barrett of Hull, Mass.; Katherine Mansfield Houle and her husband, Roland, and their daughter, Delia Grace, of Kensington, Md.; Robert Slemmer and his wife, Paige, and their children, Robbie and Molly of Clayton, N.C.; and Taylor Slemmer and her husband, Daniel Siddall, and their son, Andrew Siddall, of Auburn. He also leaves behind his children, Suzanne Willett and her husband, Mark Pinals, of New York, N.Y., and their children, Colin of Tampa, Fla., and Danielle, of Boston, Mass.; Brenda Shrump; Lauren Willett; Alicia Willett; and William Willett Jr.

The eldest of seven children, Bill is survived by brothers, Doug Willett and his wife, Diane, of Florida, Gregory Willett of Massachusetts; sisters, Erva Willett of Connecticut and Denise Nejfelt and her husband, Victor, of Florida. Bill is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

His sisters, Virginia and Michele predeceased him.

He is missed.

Condolences and donations may be accessed online at www.albert-burpee.com.

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