William J. Vance, 85, of Franklin, passed away Tuesday, June 18, 2013.
He was born Sept. 16, 1927, in Connersville, to Homer G. and Martha L. (Stevens) Vance, and they preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by his grandparents Errie and Mae Stevens and Newton and Ellen Vance.
Survivors include his wife, Rose Marie (Curtis) Vance of Franklin; daughter, Martina Wickizer; stepdaughter, Patricia A. Silverthorn; two granddaughters, Sonja M. McCann and Karin B. Silverthorn; great-grandchildren, Daniele C. McCann and Chad Thomas McCann; sister Donna Beard of Colorado; two cousins; and several nieces and nephews.
He graduated from Connersville High School.
He joined the U.S. Navy, serving for four years during World War II.
He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, majoring in animal husbandry. He married Rose Marie Curtis on April 1, 1951, before returning to the Navy in June of 1951 for the Korean conflict.
In his youth, he spent many summers on his uncle’s tobacco farm in Kentucky and as a section hand for the Baltimore Ohio Railroad. After school hours, he worked for Jobes Hardware.
He was employed by CID of Indianapolis and Town and Country Food Co. in Fort Wayne. He was a credit manager of IWI Division of Essex Wire in Fort Wayne, and credit manager, and then worked in dealer training at Wheelhorse Products in South Bend, where he retired in 1989 after 20 years of service.
In 1991, he and his wife moved to Bonita Springs, Fla., where he was presiding judge at the Naples-Fort Myers Dog Track. They returned to Indiana and moved into the independent living facility at the Indiana Masonic Home in 2001.
He returned to work at Lockhart Cadillac as a driver until August of 2007.
He and his grandfather, Errie Stevens, were raised together as Master Masons when he was 21. He was a Lifetime Member of Warren Lodge No. 15 in Connersville. He was also a member of the Imperial Council of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America, the Murat Shrine of Indianapolis and Joppa Inc.
Other affiliations include serving as past president and life member of Amvets Post No. 11, as a member of American Legion No. 205, as a member of the Tennessee Squire and as a past president and board chairman of Z.B. Falcons of South Bend. He was a lifetime member of Polish Falcons of America. He was member and past chairman of the Board of B.P.O. No. 235 and was awarded lifetime membership of the B.P.O.E. from the Franklin Elks Lodge No. 1818.
His lifelong hobby was collecting postage stamps from all over the world and was owner and dealer of Lakeside Stamps. He loved planting and tending the flowers, trees and shrubs around his home, playing golf, cooking and entertaining, and he was an avid bird watcher.
He was passionate about fireworks and was a part-time employee at a fireworks company in Fort Wayne. He continued to do fireworks shows on his own many years after. After moving to the Indiana Masonic Home, he and Rose Marie hosted a party every year for friends and family from their home to celebrate Franklin’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display.
Mr. Vance will be sorely missed by family and all who knew him.
The Rev. Cleon Wright will conduct a memorial service at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Ransford Chapel at the Indiana Masonic Home, 690 S. State St., Franklin. The family will receive friends from noon until service time at the chapel.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Indiana Masonic Home, 690 S. State St., Franklin, IN 46131; or to the National Adrenal Diseases Foundation, 505 Northern Blvd., Suite 303, Great Neck, NY 11021.
Arrangements are being handled by Swartz Family Community Mortuary and Memorial Center in Franklin.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.swartzmortuary.com.