William Francis Potter, ninety-six, passed away peacefully August 5, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. One of the last of the Greatest Generation, Bill was humble but excelled at everything he did; from navigating arcane baseball strategy to installing a kitchen in a tiny Parisian apartment.
Born in 1923, in Little Falls, New York to James and Agnes (Lucey) Potter, he outlived his brother Bernard (Cathy), sister Helen (Joe) Kerzic and wife of sixty-eight years, Elizabeth Irene (Edwards) Potter, is survived by his youngest sister Mary (Clauson) Soule of Richfield Springs, NY, and his six children: Martha (Steve), John, Elizabeth (Chris), Aimee (Jean-Pierre), Keenan (Jennifer), Maria, fifteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
In 1944, two months after D-Day, with the 112th Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, Bill took his eighty pound pack up the same cliffs of Normandy as a mortar gunner.
Awarded a scholarship from St. Mary’s High School in Little Falls, he went on to earn a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. There he met his future wife Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Edwards, “I liked her gams” and they married in St. Brendan’s in Betty’s hometown of Chicago. Lifelong Catholics, they settled in D.C. where they raised their six children. Working as a Civil Engineer for TrustCon, Bill helped construct the Chesapeake Bay Bridge then moved to the Pacific Northwest to finish the Bangor Naval Base while simultaneously building a new home with his sons John and Keenan. A committed Democrat, he wrote many letters to the editor defending ‘the little guy’. His sharp sense of humor battled with his quick tendency to shed tears.
Forever a small town guy, Bill’s heart remained in Little Falls, where many summer visits ensured his children knew their uncles, aunts and cousins. Bill’s recall of childhood friends and events resulted in an autobiography of encyclopedic detail.
Fondly remembered by his nephews Mike (Gail) Potter of Little Falls, and Steven (Aida) Potter of Albany, New York they concur with his advice, “Don’t take any wooden nickels”. Remembrances may be made to www.christophers.org. A memorial mass for Bill will be held at St. James Cathedral in Seattle on October 1st at 3 pm.