William Donald (Bill) Cearley, 89, passed away surrounded by his loving family Oct. 13, 2016, at the Upper Valley Medical Center after a short illness. Bill was born in Hamilton, Ohio, July 15, 1927, and was preceded in death by his parents, John and Mildred (Reiff) Cearley; brothers, John Jr., Raymond; a sister, Betty Gordon; and a former wife and friend, Patricia Ann Bowers. He always said he was blessed because he got to do what he loved most in life, working around trains and planes. He was a conductor on the
B&O, Chessie System, CSX Railroads for 42 years and retired on July 15,1989. He also helped manage the Piqua Airport for Hartzell Propeller for 35 years and retired on Dec. 31, 2002. He held a commercial pilot's license, owned a Cessna 170, 172, 337, and had over a thousand hours of flying time. At the end of World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps as a Mechanic in the 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron, working on PBY, L5, SB17 and helicopters.
He was proud of his four sons, who were all members of the 178th Fighter Group of the Ohio National Guard. He was also a lifetime member of the Confederate Air Force and The Planes of Fame Museum. Over the years, he flew in several of the aircraft owned by both organizations, such as P-51, B29,B17, B25, and F4U. In his younger years, Bill was a volunteer firemen, Boy Scout leader, football and baseball coach, where many of his children participated. Bill graduated from Hamilton High School in 1946, where he
found a love with music. During his time there and throughout his life, he played the trumpet and trombone and loved to go to Big Band concerts. In the 1970s, he was fortunate enough to meet his idol, Harry James, at the old Crystal Ball Room in Versailles, Ohio.
Bill leaves five children, Raymond (Chuck) Cearley of Piqua, Ohio, Stewart Cearley of Fairborn, Ohio, Edward (Linda) Cearley of Powell, Ohio, Terry (Brenda) Cearley of New Carlisle, Ohio, and Anna (Vinson) Barefoot of Bradenton, Fla.; 8 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; nephew Steve (Julie) Greenup; niece Sharon Cearley; and many good friends and relatives.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the
Zettler Funeral Home, 2646 Pleasant Ave., Hamilton, Ohio, with the Rev Edwin Beck officiating, followed by internment at Millville Cemetery.www.zettlerfuneralhome.com" target="_new" rel="nofollow"> www.zettlerfuneralhome.com
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