TOPSFIELD: William L. Shailor, former Chair of the Board of Selectmen of Wenham, Mass., died on March 9, 2015 at the Masconomet Healthcare Center. He was 92. Mr. Shailor was born March 22, 1922 in Manhattan. He grew up with his younger sibilings (May, George, and Faith) on Long Island, and then in Jackson Heights, N.Y. He attended Newton High School, where he was active as a member of the Drum and Bugle Corps, the Choir, and the Silver Skates (ice-skating team). He was also a Sergeant in the school’s Service Squad. Mr. Shailor graduated in 1939.
After high school, he worked as a messenger for The Bank of New York on Wall Street, while attending night classes at New York University.
Mr. Shailor served in World War II, and after (1942 to 1946) in the U.S. Coast Guard, including duty on the U.S.S. Icarus (Atlantic seaboard), U.S.S. Comanche (Greenland), and U.S.S. Centaurus (Guam, Okinawa, China).
He married Joan O’Gorman on October 10, 1943, and his first son, William, was born in 1945.
In 1946, Mr. Shailor was discharged, and joined his family in Elmhurst, N.Y. Mr. Shailor soon became the Chief of Passenger Services for United Airlines, and moved his growing family, now with two sons, William and Thomas, to Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The family then moved to North Merrick, Long Island, where two daughters, Victoria, and Joan, were born. Mr. Shailor’s job required the family to relocate to Denver a short time later.
On June 23, 1954, Mr. Shailor’s family was involved in a tragic car accident. His wife Joan, and his children William, Victoria, and Joan were all killed. Only Mr. Shailor, and his son, Thomas, survived.
Mr. Shailor returned to work in New York, where he met Patricia Pappas, a stewardess with United. They were married on January 14, 1956, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The couple lived briefly in Freeport, Long Island, then moved to Massapequa Park, Long Island. Between 1957 and 1960, they had their first three children together, Jonathan, Kimberly, and Christopher.
In 1964, Mr. Shailor became the Chief of Operations for United at Logan International Airport in Boston. He and his family moved to the Massachusetts North Shore, settling first in Hamilton, and then Wenham. In 1968, his son, Richard was born.
In 1981, Mr. Shailor retired from the airline industry, and for a short time, worked as a real estate agent on the North Shore.
In his later life, Mr. Shailor was very active in politics and service organizations. From 1983 to 1994, he served as a Wenham Town Selectman, and was twice elected Chair. He was on the Executive Board of the Essex County Selectmen’s Association, and Member of the Essex/Middlesex Sanitary District Committee. At the state level, he served both as Secretary and as First Vice President of the Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association, and as a Board Member of the Governor’s Advisory Council. He also served as Chair of Wenham’s Republican Town Committee, was a Charter Member of the Hamilton-Wenham Rotary Club and member of United Airlines Nor’Easters.
His final years were happy ones, with his beloved children, grandchildren, and his dog, Tula by his side.
Mr. Shailor leaves his sister, Faith Gandolph of American Fork, Utah; his children, Thomas Shailor of Melbourne, Fla., Jonathan Shailor of Kenosha, Wis., Kimberly Obremski of Topsfield, Christopher Shailor of Beverly, and Richard Shailor of Foxboro; 10 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. He was predeceased by his first wife, Joan O’Gorman (married 1943-1954), and his second wife, Patricia Pappas (married 1956 to 2001).
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at the Church of Saint Paul, 50 Union Street, Hamilton on Saturday at 12 Noon. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held prior to the mass at the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly from 9 to 11 A.M. Burial will be in Wenham Cemetery. . In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Honor Flight for U.S. Veterans in his name. Please donate by going to www.youcaring.com
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