Richard Paul Willey, 96, of Berlin Meadows, formerly 131 Currier Street, Barre, passed away on Monday, October 18, 2021 with his daughter by his side.
He was born in St. Johnsbury May 2, 1925 to Charles E. and Frances (Legendre) Willey, and was one of seven children. Always a hard worker, he began his working career during graded school by working part-time in a bakery. While in high school he worked at First National Grocery as a clerk and was promoted to produce manager. He graduated from St. Johnsbury Academy in 1943.
In the mid 1940’s he was employed at Fairbanks Morse Scale Factory. After that he worked for Swift & Company starting out as an egg candler, then driving truck, and then becoming plant superintendent.
After working at Swift’s he was employed by Goldberg’s Auto Service in the mid 1950’s and when the company opened a store in Littleton, NH he was transferred to the Littleton store and worked there.
He married Helen Folsom, daughter of Ross & Myra “Molly” (Clark) Folsom, on April 28, 1966. They resided in St. Johnsbury until purchasing a home in Barre in 1968 and lived in Barre the remainder of his life, moving to Lincoln House in the fall of 2013, then Berlin Meadows in May of 2019.
In the fall of 1970 he began working for Gable Auto Supply as Manager of the Burlington store, traveling every day from Barre and only unable to return home to Barre one night due to a bad snow storm. In 1977 he was transferred to Barre and worked for Gable-Bailey Auto Parts.
He joined the Elk’s Club in 1947, and was an inner guard for a few years. He was initiated in St. Johnsbury and transferred membership to Littleton, then Barre and back to St. Johnsbury. He was also a member of the Littleton Lion’s Club and St. Johnsbury’s Knights of Columbus.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, spending time outside, and loved working on wood – cutting, splitting, stacking, and burning. He shared on many occassions how he and his father worked to get wood ready as a fuel source for the family for the cold Vermont winters. He loved having a garden and every spring would plant tomato and pepper seeds inside to get a good start on the short growing season. He was often referred to as Mr. Green Thumbs because of his gardening talents. He was close to his St. Johnsbury Academy class of 1943 and always looked forward to attending their monthly luncheon gatherings. He enjoyed candlepin bowling, dancing, and was known to burn the candle at both ends. He loved to share stories of the fun he had.
He is survived by his daughter Beth-Ann Willey and her husband Harl Hoffman, of East Barre, many nieces and nephews. His wife, Helen Folsom Willey passed away in 1989. He was predeceased by his siblings: Marie Willey (died in infancy), Evelyn LeClerc, Carroll Willey, Bernard Willey, Marguerite Willey, and Gerald “Bud” Willey.
A Catholic graveside service will occur Saturday, October 30, 2021 at 1:00 at Riverside Cemetery in Lunenburg, VT. Fr. Harlow from St. John the Evangelist – Corpus Christi Parish will officiate.
Many thanks to the amazing staff at Berlin Meadows for their wonderful care and support to ensure his remaining years were happy and comfortable. A huge thank you to Dr. Robert Robinson for his years of providing thoughtful care and guidance in addressing issues faced during the normal aging process.
Memories and condolences may be shared with family at saylesfh.com.