Richard John “The Bear” Bills
Age 69, of Hector, passed away October 11, 2016 as the result of an automobile accident believed to have been caused by a medical emergency. The family will receive friends at the Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home, 212 E. 4th St., Watkins Glen, on Saturday (Oct 15th) from 3pm-5pm. A funeral service celebrating his life will be held Sunday at 2:00pm at the Hector Presbyterian Church. After the burial a reception will be held at 4:00pm at the BPOE 1546 Elks Lodge in Watkins Glen. He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Ruth; daughters, Kate (Steve) Woods and Jennifer (Carl) Roedel, all of Norwood, MA; sister, Georgia Leigh Bills (Wesley Slate) of Beverly, MA; nephews, Brett (Jessie) Beardslee of Hector; and Richard Bills Slate of Beverly, MA; brother-in-law, Roger (Nancy) Beardslee of Hector. “Grandpa Bear” is also survived by his three grandchildren, Amelie Woods, Wilson and Cole Roedel who idolized him. He was born in Elmira on April 16, 1947 to the late Richard and Priscilla (Compton) Bills. John graduated from Thomas A. Edison High School in Elmira and attended Alfred State. After college he joined the US Army Reserves and served in the Reserves for 7 years where his locally renowned cooking skills were first honed. John retired from Verizon after 31 years, walking many miles in the fields around Watkins Glen repairing and splicing cable. He was a former Fire Chief and member of the V-L-H Fire Dept.; member of the BPOE 1546 Elks Lodge in Watkins Glen, and Hector Presbyterian Church. He was honored as Elk of the Year in 2007 and 2008. His greatest joy was his family. A lover of the lake since childhood and an avid fisherman, he was known for knowing secret hiding spots of the big fish. He loved all animals but his favorites were his cats, Labradors and the Muppet. He was very proud to have put his two girls through the University of Connecticut. As a humble man, not eager for the spotlight, he was known to all for his generous nature and eager willingness to help someone else. As the giver of nicknames, his humor and love will be missed by all. The family gratefully declines flowers. Those wishing may consider a memorial donation in his memory to the V-L-H Fire Department; the Hector Presbyterian Church Food Pantry or the BPOE Lodge. Envelopes will be provided at the funeral home. You may sign a guestbook or “Light a Candle of Remembrance” online at www.RoyceChedzoy.com.