William McCool "Bill" Donnelly MONTPELIER — William McCool "Bill" Donnelly, born on July 23, 1935, in Montpelier, Vermont, the son of Wilfred H. Donnelly and Mary McCool Donnelly, died May 22, 2020. At age 7 (1942), he, his parents and elder sister, Ann, relocated to Cleveland, Ohio. As a teenager in Cleveland, Bill became an automobile enthusiast, developing a love for not only owning, but also repairing and restoring, automobiles. During his late teenage years, he met his future wife and love of his life for approximately 65 years, Ruth Elliott. They were married on Sept. 15, 1956. The couple wasted no time having children as Kathleen was born in July 1957 and her brother, John, in October 1958. Bill and Ruth purchased their first home in 1956 and then at the age of 23 (1959), Bill purchased his first service station, Donnelly’s Sunoco. During the 1960s, Bill was a successful entrepreneur, owning and operating multiple service stations in the Cleveland vicinity through 1971 when the family relocated to Montpelier, Vermont. This was an important transition for Bill and Ruth, as they visited Vermont on their annual summer vacation and the couple had talked endlessly about relocating to Vermont with their two children. Upon settling in Montpelier, Vermont, Bill and Ruth owned and operated Donnelly’s News Agency (108 Main St.) for five years, employing their children, Kathy and John, as well as numerous teenagers, Vietnam veterans and neighbors. Bill then transitioned back into his love of owning service stations and purchased the Amoco Service Station just down the road on the corner of Main and School Street. Over the next several decades of his life, Bill and Ruth owned and operated country stores, located in Waterbury Center and South Peacham. Bill’s passions included his wife of close to 65 years, his two children, extended family, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, as well as automobiles, Irish heritage and watching his grandchildren play sports. Throughout their lengthy union, Bill and Ruth made friends all over central Vermont, as they resided in numerous homes (Montpelier, Waterbury Center, Northfield, South Peacham, Barre, Williamstown, Williston and Orange). The family joke was Bill and Ruth loved packing and unpacking their belongings always ready for their next adventure. Bill was predeceased by his father, Wilfred, mother Mary and sister Ann Smith. Bill leaves behind his loving wife and lifelong partner, Ruth; daughter Kathleen (Kenneth Ball) and son John (Deborah Parsons Donnelly); and seven grandchildren, Jared (Jessica), Matthew, David (Andrea), Michael (Lauren), John (Sasha), Jake (Caroline) and Remington (Chad). Bill also leaves behind four great-grandchildren, Sydney, Cameran, Braden and Addie. A Mass to celebrate Bill’s life will be held on Saturday, June 20, at 11 a.m. in Montpelier, Vermont, at St. Augustine's Church. We ask all attendees to follow COVID-19 protocols related to social distancing, etc. The Mass will end shortly before noon and the family will remain to greet attendees outside the church (weather permitting). In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to agencies and organizations that compassionately cared for Bill throughout the last several years of his life. These include Central Vermont Home, Health & Hospice, Central Vermont Meals on Wheels, Berlin Health & Rehab, and Central Vermont Hospital. As Bill always said, “it’s been a great ride.”

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