William “Bill” Edward Neleski Jr. graced our lives for too short a time. Bill, 52, of Cumberland, and formerly of Portland and Lamoine and Hawaii, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, due to complications from colon cancer.
Although his lifespan was less than average, Bill certainly lived an above-average life. Born in Puerto Rico, the son of a Navy master chief, he grew up in Hawaii and moved to Lamoine when he was in the sixth grade. He continued on to Ellsworth High School before moving to Portland to attend the University of Southern Maine, graduating with a business degree.
Bill stayed in Portland to start his career in real estate appraisal, working for several companies over the years and accumulating masses of friends through his outstanding work ethic, friendliness and dependability. He was active in his community and local government. Rain or shine, he could be seen walking his dog, JJ, daily (yes, often off leash), leading to many lifelong friendships with those he encountered along the way.
In 1997, Bill met Laura Emily Armstrong, and two years later they were married. Bill and Laura were blessed with their first son, William E. Neleski III, and the family moved to Cumberland, where they had their second son, Cooper V. Neleski. Four years ago, Bill started his own business, Triumph Appraisals — named after his 1974 Triumph TR6 convertible, which he loved like a third son. Bill continued to walk his dog (yes, off leash) and collect even more friends. During his last days with us, the street in front of his home was lined with cars of high school friends, college friends, work friends, neighbors and family — everyone wanted to be in his company just one more time.
As devoted as Bill was to his friends, he was even more so to his family. He leaves behind his mother and father, Enid Neleski and Master Chief USN (Ret.) William E. Neleski Sr., his sister Patti Haslam and nephews Kyle and Ben Haslam, as well as a large extended family.
Bill was devoted to his boys. He never missed a single game a son played in — unless it conflicted with the other son’s game and then he could be seen driving quickly from one field to another. He coached them when he could, cheered them on when he couldn’t and encouraged and loved them through it all. The hardest people to leave behind were his wife of 19 years, Laura, and his sons, William, 17, and Cooper, 15.
When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Bill said he would like it to be “as a nice person, a person who tried to do the right thing and a father who loved his family deeply.”
Friends and family are invited to share their memories and offer their condolences by visiting William’s online guestbook at www.lindquistfuneralhome.com.
A celebration of William E. Neleski Jr.’s life was held Sunday, Aug. 19, at the Greely High School Gym. A graveside committal will be held in Lamoine at a later date to be determined. A service of Lindquist Funeral Home, 1 Mayberry Lane, Yarmouth, ME 04096. 846-4011.