William East

Thursday, May 19, 2011

William Franklin "Bill" East, 78, of Cape Girardeau passed away peacefully Monday, May 16, 2011, one day shy of his 59th wedding anniversary, at Southeast Hospital, following a courageous battle with cancer.

He was born Dec. 14, 1932, in Mount Vernon, Ill., to John Jefferson and Aurelia Young East Sr.

At the age of 3 his family relocated to Cape Girardeau. Bill attended St. Mary Grade School and was a 1950 graduate of St. Mary High School. He and Nancy Ligon were married May 17, 1952, at St. Mary's Cathedral.

Bill served in the U.S. Air Force from January 1953 to January 1957 with the 326th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Grandview Air Force Base.

Following his service he was an airplane mechanic at the Cape Girardeau airport while continuing his education. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a bachelor's degree in education. He received a master's degree in guidance counseling from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

He began his career as an industrial arts teacher at Jackson High School and later became the first guidance counselor at R.O. Hawkins Junior High in Jackson.

He continued his work as a counselor at Central High School in Cape Girardeau in the 1970s where he remained until his retirement in 1989. Some of his fondest memories were of working sporting events and being senior class counselor and faculty adviser for the senior prom.

After retirement he enjoyed his time working alongside his son-in-law at Pagoda Gardens restaurant.

He was a member of St. Mary's Cathedral, Elks Lodge 639, American Legion Post 63, MSTA and Knights of Columbus Council 1111.

In addition to his wife, Nancy, he is survived by his children, Pam (Steve) Raney, Debbie (Sam) Prasanphanich, Gary (Sherry) East, all of Cape Girardeau, and Tina (Everett) Hey of Jackson; a sister, Betty June (Stan) Dougan, of Berlin, Md.; 17 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was eagerly awaiting two more great-grandchildren later this year.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Charles and J.J. East Jr.

Friends may call 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Ford and Sons Mount Auburn Funeral Home. Parish prayers will be at 7 followed by an Elks service.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary's Cathedral, with the Rev. Tom Kiefer officiating.

Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery with full military rites by Missouri Honors Team.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Online condolences may be made at www.fordandsonsfuneralhome.com.