William A. "Bill" Luce, JrWilliam Augustus Luce, Jr., age 93, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away on Friday, March 16, 2012, in the presence of his family at Cayuga Ridge Residential Community.

Born on June 3, 1918, in Ithaca, New York, Bill was the son of William Augustus Luce, Sr. and Beulah Marguerite Smith Luce.  A South Hill resident, Bill attended South Hill Elementary School and Ithaca High School.  He then attended NYS Ag. and Tech. Institute at Delhi, and Cornell University, where he was a member of the Seal and Serpent Society.  Approximately one month after the outbreak of World War II, Bill joined the U.S. Army, serving for two years in the Field Artillery in Australia and New Guinea.  Upon returning from the South Pacific, he served as a Field Artillery Instructor for one year at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Prior to his military service, Bill met and was engaged to Virginia Alois VanLiew of Trumansburg.  Bill and Virginia were married on February 23, 1945, in Lawton while Bill completed his service at Fort Sill. 

Shortly thereafter they returned to Ithaca, where Bill joined in partnership with his father in Luce Dairy Co., a South Hill business started in 1913 by his father.  Approximately one year later, both his father and mother died.  Bill operated Luce Dairy Co. until 1970.  He then was employed by the City of Ithaca, and later the NYS Finger Lakes State Parks Commission, finally retiring in his mid-80’s.

While operating Luce Dairy, Bill was an active member of various professional organizations, including local and state milk dealers’ associations.  He was a member of the Jacksonville Community United Methodist Church, Rotary International, and the American Legion.  He served as a Boy Scout adult leader, and volunteered with various charitable organizations in the area, including distributing fruit baskets at Christmas time.  In later years, Bill worked with others to help bring water service to Jacksonville.

  Bill cherished time spent at Cayuga Lake, whether fishing with his grandsons or taking his family for rides in his boat.  He also enjoyed pheasant hunting with his sons, both at the VanLiew farm near Waterburg, and at the Luce farm in Lansing.  A member of the Antique Automobile Club of America, Bill often drove his 1916 Buick to AACA events throughout the Finger Lakes.  Bill especially enjoyed working with Virginia in the yard at their Jacksonville home, where they had resided since 1949.

Bill was preceded in death by Virginia on August 29, 2010, and by his sister, Barbara Jean.  He is survived by son William A. Luce (Evelyn) of Layton, Utah; son John C. Luce (Margaret) of Alexandria, Virginia; eight grandchildren, Lara, Bill, Nathan, Olivia, Alan, Anna, John, and Ben; and twelve great-grandchildren.

The family will be present to receive friends on Thursday, March 22, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South St., Trumansburg.

A Memorial Service will be held on March 23 at 2:00 p.m. at the Jacksonville Community United Methodist Church with the Rev. Nelson Reppert officiating.  Prayers of Committal, with military honors, will be held privately at Grove Cemetery.

Bill’s family expresses its most sincere gratitude to the staff at Cayuga Ridge for the compassionate and tender care provided during the final years of Bill’s life.  The family also expresses appreciation to Bill and Virginia’s Jacksonville neighbors, to the members of the Jacksonville Community United Methodist Church, and to Bill’s friends in the dairy industry, for the friendship and kind service provided.

In keeping with Bill’s wishes, those who would like to offer a contribution in his memory are kindly asked to consider the Jacksonville Community United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 244, Jacksonville, NY 14854, or the Ulysses Historical Society, P.O. Box 455, Trumansburg, NY 14886.