William Donald Willett, 1934 - 2016

William Donald Willett, 81, of Poland, ME, died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, January 26, 2016, at Auburn Hospice House.  He was born in Montpelier, VT to the late Erva and Emil Willett, on April 24, 1934.

Willett Obit pic


Bill is survived by his loving wife of 24 years, Sandra Knowles, and her children, Amy Slemmer, her daughter, Cynthia Ann Barrett, of Hull, MA; Katherine Mansfield Houle, her husband, Roland, their daughter Delia Grace, of Kensington, MD; Robert Slemmer, his wife Paige, their children Robbie and Molly, of Clayton, NC and Taylor Slemmer, her husband, Daniel Siddall, and their son Andrew Siddall, of Auburn, ME.  He also leaves behind his children Suzanne Willett, her husband Mark Pinals, of New York, NY, their children Colin of Tampa, FL and Danielle, of Boston, MA; 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 FL, Gregory Willett of MA, sisters Erva Willett of CT, and Denise Nejfelt and her husband, Victor, of FL.  His sisters, Virginia and Michele, predeceased him.  Bill is also survived by many nieces and nephews.


Bill was an accomplished athlete at St. Michael’s High School in VT and enrolled in ROTC at St. Michael’s College in VT.  He left college to enlist in the Air Force, and he served in the Korean War.  He settled in Hartford, CT, 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 CT Long Rivers Council.  Bill was a voracious reader, an avid sailor, a competitive shooter and motorcycle enthusiast.  He loved the wildlife of Maine, college sports, the Yankees and his family.  He is missed.

Funeral Notice 

WILLETT, William, 81, of Poland, died in Auburn on January 26, 2016. A service will be held at a later date.  Those wishing to honor Bill can make a donation to Health Care For All, One Federal Street, Boston, MA 02110.

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© Gerald Burpee 2016