Easthampton, MA – William (Bill) LaTerz, 73 of Easthampton passed away peacefully Saturday May 13, 2023, at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Family and friends visited throughout the prior week as Bill’s final battle with pneumonia gave way to a rest in peace.
Born at the Chelsea Naval Hospital on June 25, 1949, to Kathryn (Kit) Rumley LaTerz and Chief Michael (Smitty) LaTerz, U.S. Navy.
Predeceased by his mother Kit, who passed away in 2004, his dad Smitty, 1969, and his beloved dog, Rascal. Survived by his sister Jean Darcy LaTerz, and her spouse Penny Shields (East Harwich, MA); sister Margo LaTerz, (Easthampton, MA); brother Mark Davis (Hudson NH); and brother Michael F. LaTerz II (Groton MA). Also, his nieces and nephews Kristine, David, Ben, Renata, Thiago, and all their loving families; the countless faithful cousins, friends, and associates; and, of course, the thousands of students who came under the tutelage of Mr. LaTerz.
Bill is also survived by his dear friend, and ex-wife, Carol (now, Silluzio) who works at the same Cooley Dickinson Hospital, where Bill passed. She visited him on her breaks, right up to the afternoon when he passed – a true sweetheart.
Bill’s early life, as a child of a U.S Navy man, found home in Norfolk VA, Quonset Point RI, and Charlestown MA – where his mother, Kit’s great Rumley clan made their home for many decades. In 1958, the family migrated to the suburbs, Woburn MA, as so many post-war families did at that time. The family’s strong Catholic roots required young William to be enrolled in Arlington (MA) Catholic High School, where Bill met what came to be his life-long friends; notably, Bill Hickie, Paul Rice, Mike Giallongo, Bob & Maureen, and Kenny, too.
A 1974 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park NY), Bill went on to complete his yeoman’s work in the field before being hired at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School (Northampton MA) September 7, 1977. Along with his friend and colleague, David Bushy, Bill helped establish Smith Vocational’s Culinary Arts Program, providing graduates with an industry recognized credential. During his 30-year tenure, the Culinary Arts Program prepared thousands of students for employment in the food service industry. During that time, Bill added a Bachelor of Education degree (UMASS Amherst) to his curriculum vitae. Retirement came on June 30, 2007.
Bill was a kind-hearted soul with a strong sense of right and wrong. His sense of humor was eclipsed only by his genuine humility. Everyone loved him.
Bill’s interests and hobbies were numerous, fishing, hunting, model airplanes, harmonica, and all-around good guy. One time, the environmentally conscious and mechanically inclined Bill converted his pickup truck to run on vegetable oil. At Christmas, you might have caught Bill driving that pickup truck around town with an electrified Santa’s Sleigh mounted in the truck bed, a boom box providing the necessary soundtrack, and plenty of candies to convey Bill’s out-sized holiday spirit.
A public memorial for Bill will be held this autumn, the fall of ’23, where his ashes will be lifted by the wind from atop Mount Tom coming to rest across the place he called home, Pioneer Valley in Easthampton MA.
Donations may be made in Bill’s name to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, at aspca.org
The Graham Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 18 Adams Street in Easthampton has honorably been entrusted with Bill’s care and services request. For online condolences please visit rwgrahamfuneralhome.com, also visit his Memoriam Video published on YouTube https://youtu.be/IQngeoILkxQ.
Published by Daily Hampshire Gazette on May 19, 2023.