Bill was born the youngest son of 12 children to Lee and Tirzah Paronto on Sept. 23, 1929. Raised in Laurel, Mont., Bill realized at a young age he needed to pull his weight around the homestead. Family values, hard work ethic and enjoyment of friends were instilled by his parents. Until the day he died, he thought about his four children and their families, his brothers, sisters and old friends.
Bill began his milk days with the Anderson Dairy in Laurel when he was in high school. Busy with work, he still made time to play sports and lettered on the Laurel High School football team, graduating in 1949. That year, Bill married Iona Morton from Billings. They were married 13 years and had two children, Dennis and Debra.
Working with Meadow Gold Dairies, he assumed the supervisor position in Cody and moved his family here in 1957.
In 1967, Bill married Eleanor Jones in Cody. Bill, at the height of his career, fulfilled a lifelong dream by purchasing the Meadow Gold business in Cody and renamed it Cody Dairy. He also completed his family by adopting Eleanor’s daughter Cheryl and son Michael.
Bill liked the outdoors and enjoyed fishing, boating, camping and snowmobiling. He was a member of the B.P.O.E. and the Cody Snowmobile Club. He narrowly missed death when an outcrop of snow fell away, sending him 100 feet down a cliff in the Beartooth Mountains in 1982. He was just sore and had a new story to tell all.
With Eleanor’s health failing, Bill sold the Powell Meadow Gold business. He stayed close to home and was extremely proud of his home and yard.
In 2005, Bill was diagnosed with cancer. He beat it and remained cancer-free until November 2011. He amazed the doctors with his perseverance even as he lost his wife Eleanor on Nov. 16, 2011.
Bill was also preceded in death by his parents, two infant sisters, two brothers, Bud and Blair, sister Pam, and granddaughter Nicole Schock.
Bill is survived by his sons Dennis (Robbie) of Veneta, Ore., and Michael (Rachel) of Lincoln, Neb.; daughters Debra (Tom) Lyons of Orondo, Wash., and Cheryl (Sam) Welch of Cody; grandchildren Andrew, Matthew, Mike, and Felicia (Dennis), Natalie and Norrie (Cheryl) and Michael (Michael); great-grandchildren: Breckin (Natalie) and Dracen (Norrie). Bill is also survived by his brothers Howard and Gene Paronto; sisters Betty Shay, Velma Gratwohl, June Paronto and Patsy Bach; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Bill loved life, his family, and the many friends with whom he shared his journey through life.
Memorial donations can be made to Spirit Mountain Hospice, 808 Canyon Ave, Cody, WY 82414.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 30, at Ballard Funeral Home in Cody. A special commemoration will be included for his wife Eleanor. A private interment will be held at a later date.
An online memorial is available at www.ballardfh.com.