William “Bill” Palo passed away on February 26th, 2017 as a result of congestive heart failure. Born on June 10, 1944 in Great Falls, Montana, he grew up in cattle country, graduating from Simms High School and enlisting in the Navy in 1962. He served with honor during the Vietnam War through 1966, including tours of duty on the U.S.S. Alamo and the U.S.S. Montrose. When he returned, he worked to tame his demons and create a life of happiness. Along the way, he reached out to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people, helping them get their lives back on track. For years, he worked in jails and rehabilitation centers, offering a hand up to so many who felt they had been abandoned by life.
A man of many passions, Bill was a highly regarded soccer coach and referee during the 1970s. He was actively involved in numerous causes related to the better treatment of war veterans. Perhaps most significantly, he maintained a 48 year association with the many friends of Bill Wilson. In his later years, he discovered the joy of being a Grandfather. It is difficult to imagine a person who ever enjoyed that role more than he did, or a Granddaughter who love her Grandfather more. He blossomed late in life and the warmth of his ready smile and quick joke animated many a family gathering.
As one friend wrote, upon hearing of Bill’s death,
“Life handed you such a mix
Joy, talents, courage,
Also the effects of war, knee deep and clouds of childhood pain
You never stopped your journey to rise above it all
And you did
With the generous spirit that is you.”
Bill is survived by his brother, Terry, sisters, Barbara and Mary Anne, two children, April and Nick, granddaughter Kyra, as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their offspring. A service to commemorate his life will be held at Willamette National Cemetery on March 22nd, at 10:30 am. More information will be provided in the coming days.
For those who are interested, a significant number of photos of Bill have been posted on his facebook page, listed under William Palo.