William Thomas Eaton
William “Bill” Thomas Eaton, devoted husband and father of nine children, passed away on the morning of Sunday, March 28, 2021, at the age of 91.
Born in Taunton, MA in 1929, Bill was the son of Samuel Frederick Eaton and Florence Elizabeth (Stevens) Eaton. The youngest of ten children, he was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings, Mildred, Fred, George, Dorothy, Roy, Walter, Robert, Margie, and Lorraine. Bill is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Patricia Anne, and his children, Shawn and his wife Lois Eaton, Virginia and her husband Thomas Horton, Nora and her husband Jason Cornell, Therese and her husband Paul Ferrante, Elizabeth and her late husband Mitchell Mobley, the late Michael Eaton, Paula and her husband Jamie Campbell, Catherine and her husband Todd Shevlin, Matthew and his wife Sinéad Eaton; his foster daughter, Rosemary Shurtleff and her partner Brian Donlon; his grandchildren, James, Ryan, Sarah, Noah, Mia, Julian, and Niall; his great-grandchild Adrienne; his step-grandchildren Mathew, Kaitlyn, Elaine, and Elizabeth; his foster grandchildren, Crystal, Stephanie, and Christine, and many nieces and nephews.
Bill grew up in Taunton, MA, and graduated from Monsignor Coyle High School with the class of 1947. He served as a medic in the United States Navy in Panama during the Korean conflict and was honorably discharged in 1952. After his time in the military, Bill attended Boston University, where he earned his varsity letter in Fencing and achieved his storied victory over the RI state fencing champion using a dramatic flèche maneuver.
Bill worked in banking and finance and retired as Vice President of Lending from South Shore Bank in Quincy, MA. Always a tireless worker and man of self-sacrifice, Bill provided for his large family by regularly taking on two or three jobs at a time. Bill enjoyed nature and had a life-long passion for the outdoors that included hunting, fishing, canoeing, boating, and golf. He enjoyed taking his dogs to run in the woods and could often be found cutting and splitting firewood in the back yard each year. A farmer of sorts, he was very active with gardening and raising chickens and sometimes even turkeys in the back yard. He enjoyed sharing his love for the outdoors with his family with walks in the woods, canoeing with the kids, Sunday drives, summer trips to Scusset or Horseneck beach, and even made the weekly trip to the town dump a fun adventure full of stories and songs.
Bill had other hobbies, such as watching baseball, football, and boxing, and even home brewing of beer, wine, and root beer that he made just for the kids. He was very handy and crafty and could build, fix, or repair most things. For Christmas, he’d create wooden toys for the kids, and with his artistic flair, would add realistic hand-painted drawings on them.
Always open to learn new things, Bill pursued a number of other activities later in life. He became an avid runner and ran in numerous road races during his 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. He became an auctioneer and led a number of sizable auctions. He took an interest in banjo and Bluegrass music and would attend yearly conventions. He studied to become a certified hypnotist and member of the National Guild of Hypnotists. And in his 70’s, he purchased a small fishing boat to enjoy the ocean and pursue the art of lobstering down the cape. Bill lived with a sense of humor, charm, and wit, and would entertain anyone who’d listen to his stories and spirited jokes. He was a man of integrity and dedication, and displayed the qualities of honesty, fairness, generosity, and doing right by others, with his words and actions. Bill was a long-standing member of the Mitchell Memorial Club in Middleboro, as well as a former member of the Middleboro Elks Club, Knights of Columbus, and Lions Club. He was a member of the Dale Carnegie Institute, where he studied public speaking, and was a devoted congregant at the Sacred Heart Church in Middleboro, where he served as a lector for many years.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday April 5, 2021 at 11 AM in Saints Martha and Mary Church, 354 Bedford Street (Route 18) Lakeville. Please note: attendance is limited and pre-registration is required. Due to these limits, it is requested to please be mindful to only sign up if you are certain to attend. To pre-register, click here: https://cranberrycatholic.weshareonline.org/FuneralMassofChristianBurialforWEaton11amApr5
Interment at Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, MA at 1:30 PM.
Visiting hours are respectfully omitted.
There will be a memorial service later this year for family and friends to join and formally celebrate Bill's life.
Due to floral restrictions at the cemetery, memorial contributions may be made to: Town of Middleboro, 20 Center Street, Middleboro, MA 02346. Memo: Veteran Emergency Fund.
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