William Eric Bill' Whittlesey


(March 24, 1948 - June 17, 2010)William Eric “Bill” Whittlesey, also known as “Willie Woodcutter,” died at his home in Byron on June 17, 2010.

William was born on March 24, 1948 in Lancaster, Calif., the first child of William F. “Bill” and Almeda Lucille (Hall) Whittlesey.

His brother, Steven Craig, joined the family in 1950. They lived in southern California and Nevada with their parents and then with their grandparents after their parents divorced. William and Steve were very close to their maternal grandparents.

William attended school in Fallon, Nev., where he loved to play baseball. In 1964, he pitched for the American Legion championship team from northern Nevada. He liked talking about those happy days and ball games. He still followed Major League baseball every season and loved to watch the games on television.

He graduated from Reno High School, where he played brass in the school orchestra and played baseball. He graduated in 1966, ranked 27th in a class of 435 students. He was awarded a scholarship to the University of Nevada and attended college there for one year.

William told fond stories of helping his grandfather set up and repair television repeaters in Nevada.

He played drums in a rock band for a time in the Reno area and took up guitar in later years. He loved to listen to music and jam with friends. Some of William's talents included a deep understanding of mathematics. He also was interested in astronomy and enjoyed watching the stars with his telescope.

William was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on July 7, 1991, in Walla Walla, Wash. The program from his baptism is still tucked into his Bible.

William had a special affinity for the lakes and mountains of the Sierra Nevadas, which he explored with his longtime friend, Patty Peterson. He moved to Wyoming in 1992 where he did farm work and cut firewood. He moved to Byron in 1993.

William had ways of taking care of his friends that were uniquely his own, and he loved his dogs.

He also enjoyed the Pryor Mountains where he cut the “best” firewood for many loyal wood customers, earning him the nickname “Willie Woodcutter.”

William was a very private person, which is probably why so few knew of his final illness.

He was preceded in death by both sets of grandparents; his mother; his brother; and his friend, Patty.

He is survived by a niece and nephew in Nevada; his father and stepmother; and a half-sibling.

Funeral services took place on Tuesday, followed by burial in Crown Hill Cemetery.