William "Bill" Douglass Morrell, 95, passed away on December 29, 2013 peacefully at his home. Born on December 1, 1918 in Buffalo, NY, he was the son of the late John and Lillian (Peterson ) Morrell.
Bill started working with his father at the age of 16, converting houses using kerosene lamps to electricity. He joined the Army in 1940 and married the love of his life, Leona Heidemann of Barker, on April 26, 1941 in Lyndonville. They "honeymooned" for three years while Bill was training in communication schools at Camp Claiborne, LA; Fort Lewis, WA; and Camp Phillips, KS. To make extra money, Bill worked 40 hours plus a week at an aircraft factory, strung wire for a commercial electrician, and he bought a used sewing machine to tailor soldiers uniforms and sew on patches. Bill tailored his own clothes for the rest of his life. He was part of the (E.T.O.) European Theatre of Operations, 7th Army, 44 Division, landing in Normandy, France on June 8, 1944. Bill saw action in France, Germany, Austria and Italy, and was with the first troops that crossed the Rhine into Germany. He maintained a friendship with three of his WWII buddies for over 60 years.
Leona and Bill had four children when "they" were in the Army. On leaving the service in September of 1945, Bill worked at Korff Electric in Lockport, for a few years. He then started his own electric company, specializing in commercial wiring. The bulk of his work was in the Niagara-Orleans County area. He did the bulk of the electrical work for his customer and good friend, developer Elmer Granchelli, in Lockport. He was proud of the fact that he never had to advertise or paint his business name on his work trucks. He "trained" many of the electricians now in that area and was known to all as "Wild Bill".
Bill pulled his own teeth, didn't go to a doctor from 1945 to 1975, he wrapped his own major cuts with electrical tape and kept on working. He built his own house by himself, from the foundation up, including digging his own well. Bill was his own mechanic, drank a beer or two, had a small boat to take his kids water skiing, and a sled for his grandchildren to ride in behind his snowmobile. He semi-retired in 2005 at the age of 87, but if you knew him, you could always get him to do something. He was a lifelong member of the St. John's Lutheran Church. He and Leona spent much time in his later years visiting Vets at the Veterans Hospital in Batavia. He was Commander of the Barker American Legion Post for several years and was an active member of the Lyndonville VFW and American Legion. We will miss seeing him in the annual Lyndonville Labor Day Parade.
"Lee" and Bill parted company after 68 years when Leona passed away in 2007. His family and friends will miss his skill as a carpenter, along with his vast electrical knowledge, his humor, and most of all his company.
Bill is survived by three children, Douglas (Diane) Morrell of Guntersville, AL, Dianne (David) Schrader of Medina, NY and David (Kim) Morrell of Lockport, NY; grandchildren, Douglas (Carrie) Morrell, Jr., Kevin (Diane) Morrell, Kellie Schrader (Simon) Hurrell, Kim Bateman Byrd, Belinda (J.C.) Conners, Mark (Meg) Schrader, Jason (Alicia) Morrell, Travis (Jessica) Morrell; fifteen great-grandchildren; best friend, Milford "Shorty" Scharlau, and VFW American Legion buddies. He was predeceased by his daughter, Darlene Bateman Ryan, in 1979.
Relatives and friends may call on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 from 2-6 PM at the Bates & Tuttle Funeral Home, 226 Pearl St., Medina, NY 14103. A Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 11 AM at St. John's Lutheran Church, 10213 Roosevelt Highway (Rt. 18). Lyndonville, NY 14098. The Rev. Karen Smith will officiate. Entombment will be in Glenwood Cemetery, Lockport, NY. Memorials may be made in Bill's name to Veteran's Vans Services, c/o Veterans Service Agency, 1996 Route 31, Albion, NY 14411.
Please sign the online register book at www.batestuttle.com.