OSWEGO — John William “Bill” Dempsey, 94, of Oswego, New York, a member of the Greatest Generation, passed away Feb. 12, 2021.
He was born in Fulton on June 19, 1926 to the late Harry Earl and Lucy Mae (Mahannah) Dempsey, residing there 63 years before moving to Sevierville, Tennessee upon retirement. In 1996, he returned with his wife, Dolores, to central New York, settling in Oswego.
Bill served in the European Theater with the Third Army during World War II as a Staff Sergeant in the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, under the command of General George S. Patton.
Bill was a superior craftsman, and could build or repair anything from a leaky faucet to an automobile engine. He single-handedly built or remodeled several houses and commercial buildings. Bill was the driving force behind the three Dempsey’s Sports Shops, the first being established in 1975.
He graduated from Fulton High School, and was employed for 36 years with CCA, which later became Jefferson Smurfit, in Fulton, New York. In his twilight years, Bill worked for Walmart as a greeter, a job he thoroughly enjoyed.
He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Oswego, New York.
Bill was president of the West Side Merchants Association of Fulton, an assistant scout master with Troop 13, also of Fulton, and worked with both the Fulton and Oswego election boards. He had a passion for automobiles, being one of the initial members of the Pathfinder Antique Auto Club, serving as treasurer. He previously was a member of the Syracuse Shelby Mustang Club, as well as the Country Cruisers.
During his lifetime, Bill enjoyed building and maintaining classic cars, attending car shows, downhill skiing, snowmobiling, boating, traveling with his wife, holidays, his dogs, country music, and building anything that came to mind. He loved his family, was always there to give advice or lend a helping hand, and was passionately proud of his Irish heritage.
In addition to his parents, Bill was predeceased by his loving wife of 59 years Dolores, a daughter, Rhonna, a son Bryan, and brothers Earl and Richard.
He is survived by three sons, Randy (Pat) Dempsey, Mike (Lori) Dempsey, and Kerry (Tina Lucion) Dempsey, all of Fulton; a daughter, Michelle Dempsey of Oswego; eight grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren, and two nephews. He is also survived by his faithful dog, Inky.
Bill’s family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff at Morningstar Care Center in Oswego, New York for their never ceasing care and compassion.
There will be no calling hours.
A private memorial service will be held at Brown Funeral Home in Fulton, New York.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Mr. Dempsey may be made to Trinity United Methodist Church, 45 E. Utica St., Oswego, NY 13126 or to Gary Sinise Foundation (support for our veterans, defenders, and their families), P.O. Box 368, Woodland Hills, CA 91365.