William G. Bannwarth

1921 - 2015
COOPERSTOWN - William George Bannwarth, 94, of Murphy Hill in the Town of Middlefield, passed away peacefully Thursday evening, May 21, 2015, at his home.

He was born March 27, 1921, in Brooklyn, the youngest of six children of Fritz and Anna (Goetz) Bannwarth. After graduating from Bushwick High School, he attended Brooklyn Technical School. On January 11, 1942, Bill married Margaret Belcher in Brooklyn, and they later settled and raised their family on Long Island on Harbor Isle and later Sayville.

A veteran of World War II, Bill proudly served his country in the United States Navy. He entered into active service on July 16, 1943, and served aboard the USS Chenango, which saw action in the Asiatic and Pacific Theatres of Operation. This vessel and her attached Air Squadrons was issued a Navy Unit Commendation for outstanding heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces in the air, ashore and afloat. On December 10, 1945, Bill received his Honorable Discharge from the US Navy having attained the rank of Aviation Boatswain's Mate Third Class. He was presented the Navy and Marine Corps Medal by the President of the United States, the citation of which reads, "For heroic conduct while serving on board the U. S. S. CHENANGO, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of Okinawa, April 9, 1945. After a fire was started among parked planes when a landing plane jumped the barriers, BANNWARTH assisted in removing and jettisoning bombs, rockets and ammunition from loaded planes and loading racks in the fire zone and, despite exploding rockets and the constant threat of the explosion of heavy bombs was instrumental in preventing severe damage to his ship. His courage was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

Following his military service, Bill returned home and eventually became supervisor of machine operations for Intertype Corporation in Brooklyn, which later became Harris-Intertype Corporation.

In 1985, Bill and his wife, Marge, moved to Murphy Hill, where they enjoyed life in the country.

Bill was a member of the Sgt. Walter P. Eggleston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 7128 and the Clark F. Simmons American Legion Post No. 579 in Cooperstown.

Affectionately known as "Bill from over the hill" and "Gramps", Bill lived an extraordinary life of adventure, happiness and love. From experiencing Lion King on Broadway to swimming with dolphins, riding in a B-17 bomber and going 190 MPH in a NASCAR racecar, to taking the plunge on the "free-fall" at Splish Splash and water skiing, horseback riding and sailing his sailboat, his love of life was encompassed in each and every aspect of his 94 years.

Bill is survived by his three daughters, Jean Fornillo and husband, Raymond, of Binghamton, Diane Gamble of Cooperstown, and Susan Zichettella and husband, Wayne, of Waycross, Georgia; six grandchildren, Phil Gamble and wife, Cathy of New Market, Maryland, Lori Fink and husband, Michael, of Cooperstown, Damien Fornillo and wife, Lisa, of Greene, Andrea Aston and husband, Mike, of Binghamton, Paul Zichettella and wife, Keli, of Shirley, and Jennifer Zichettella and her fiance,Tony, of Central Islip, and his great grandchildren, Whitney and Jesse Fink, Ashley and Justin Gamble, Amber Seinko, Rhianne and Maeve Fornillo and Alex Nunes and little Mya Zichettella.

He is also survived by Johna and her fun loving coffee club who brought him so much joy and laughter.

He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Margie, who died April 6, 1999, and all of his siblings.

Bill will be remembered for his humor, stories of his incredible life, his unlimited love of food, and his "two finger" nightcap of Johnny Walker Black.

His love and devotion to his wife Margie was immeasurable for he was a caring, nurturing role model who touched us all throughout our lives.

Friends may call and pay their respects at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, when Bill's family will be in attendance.

Graveside services will be offered at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 28, 2015, in the Westville Cemetery. Military Honors will be accorded by members of the United States Navy Funeral Honor Guard and the Cooperstown Veterans Club.

As an alternative to flowers, expressions of sympathy in the form of memorial gifts may be made to New Market Volunteer Fire Company, 76 West Main Street, New Market, MD 21774 and Middlefield Volunteer Fire Department, 3666 County Highway 35, Roseboom, NY 13450.

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.