Obituary: William L. Reese
William L. “Bill” Reese, 80, passed away in the early afternoon of October 27, 2021, in his home in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania.
He was born April 8, 1941 in Shady Side Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the eldest son of Jesse and May (Jones) Reese, the second of their five children.
His father and mother operated a full-service gas station and store with their children on Babcock Boulevard in Ross Township, Allegheny County on Pittsburgh’s Northside, where the family lived in an apartment above the store. His parents saved their money and purchased a farm in Sparta Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania where they moved the whole family in the mid-1950s. Bill’s father took a job at a local sawmill in Spartansburg, where Bill worked alongside him. Having a good head for numbers Bill endeavored to become a lumber inspector, and in the mid-1960s attended the National Hardwood Lumber Association Inspector Training School in Memphis, Tennessee. He was a proud alumnus of NHLA’s Inspector Training School, graduating from its 34th Class.
While attending school and working in Memphis he met and fell immediately in love with Margaret “Marie” Davis. Bill and Marie got married in Memphis and moved back north where they reared and raised their four children in Spartansburg. They founded the Dutch Treat Restaurant in Spartansburg which has been an integral part of the community for over four decades.
In 1970 Bill established Spartywood Products, Inc., a division of SEMAC Industries, in Rome Township, Crawford County. Over the following three decades, Bill oversaw the growth of Spartywood from a small sawmill operation to one of the largest forest products companies in the region. He was a true pioneer in the industry, being among one of the first in the area to travel to Europe to establish export markets for veneer logs and grade lumber. He later expanded Spartywood’s reach into Asia and South America.
Bill was recognized for his exporting acumen in the 1980s and 90s, being twice awarded the title “Pennsylvania Exporter of the Year” by Governors Dick Thornburg and Tom Ridge. In 1995 he founded Penn-Sylvan International, Inc. with his four children, which has since grown from a modest dry kiln and sawmill operation to another regional powerhouse, supplying hardwood log and lumber markets around the globe. He also served for many years on the Small Business Advisory Council to the Federal Reserve Board, where he applied his knowledge and experience in the forest products sector to inform federal monetary policy.
Bill enjoyed establishing and fostering relationships with his suppliers, customers, employees and contractors. He always strove to lead with a grand vision and persistent optimism. Within and outside of his businesses he was known for his generosity and compassion. He always gave his fellow sojourners in this life the benefit of the doubt and was quick to lend a hand to those in need. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather, and will be greatly missed by his family and so many that knew him as a true friend.
He was preceded in death by his dear wife, Marie Reese, his brother, Sylvan Reese, his parents, Jesse & May Reese, his granddaughter, Julianna Marie James, his grandson, Shawn Michael Reese, and his daughter-in-law, Joyce (Way) Reese.
He is survived by his son, Michael Reese, and Michael’s fiancée Stacy Waha of Canadohta Lake, Pennsylvania; his son and daughter-in-law, Jay & Mitra (Amini) Reese of Titusville, Pennsylvania; his son-in-law and daughter, Marty & Sonja (Reese) James of Spartansburg, Pennsylvania; his son and daughter-in-law, Wm. Marc & Marygrace (Loveranes) Reese of Meadville, Pennsylvania; nine of his eleven grandchildren, Nicole (Reese) Pagliarini, Reza Reese, William Reese James, Reagan James, Nathan James, Riley Reese, Liam Reese, Elena Reese, and Mia Reese; a grandson-in-law, Casey Pagliarini; and three great grandchildren, David Ohmer, Shawn Lucas Ohmer, and Leviana Pagliarini.
Bill also is survived by his sister Jessie Hawley of Union City, Pennsylvania, his brother and sister-in-law Roy & Donna (Clark) Reese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania; his sister, Clarissa Blanchard of Lakeland, Florida and the many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of his four siblings; and his dear friend and companion, Patricia Wagner, of Meadville, Pennsylvania, who brought him joy and comfort in the latter years of his fully-lived life.
Calling hours will be held at the Valley View Mennonite Church, Spartansburg, Pennsylvania, on Monday November 1, 2021, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
A private funeral service will be held for his family at a later date.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Gordon B. Garrett Funeral Home of Titusville, Pennsylvania. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Valley View Mennonite Church, 24313 Highway 89 & 77, Spartansburg, Pennsylvania 16434. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the East Branch Trail c/o the Clear Lake Authority or the Spartansburg Volunteer Fire Dept.
Source: Gordon B. Garrett Funeral Home, Inc.