William G.'s Story

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William Goodwin Potter, age 95, died peacefully at home on April 10, 2017. He was the husband of Mary Theresa Potter, who predeceased him. He was the son of the late William G. and Margaret Potter.

Born in Salem, Bill graduated from Salem High School in 1939. He worked as a life guard at Forest River Park, was active at the Salem YMCA and hiked and skied in the White Mountains. Before volunteering for military service with the U.S. Marine Corps in WWII, Bill was on the track team and graduated from Boston College in 1943, and upon completion of his military service, he graduated from Georgetown University Law School in 1948.

He served as a USMC paratrooper in the Pacific Theater before being reassigned to the 5th Marine Division, 26th Marine Regiment which led the invasion of Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. Military history. The 5th Marine Division sustained the highest casualty rate among the three Marine divisions involved in the invasion, and Bill received the Purple Heart for wounds he received there. He also received the Presidential Unit citation, the Asiatic Pacific theater citation and the national defense and service awards for his military service. Bill was recalled to active duty service during the Korean conflict and was assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C. Bill ended his military service with the rank of Major.
Although Bill thought he was going to work in the legal field following his graduation from Georgetown University Law School, he soon realized that his professional life and personal interest was in the field of education so he returned to school and obtained a Master’s degree in Education from Salem State College. He then spent his next very satisfying decades teaching civics and history at Danvers High School.

A month ago and after 70 years of marriage, the love of Bill's life, his wife, Mary died. Bill was inconsolable. He died of a broken heart. The two of them, Bill and Mary, had been inseparable. If you saw Bill, Mary would be at his side, and together they relished the challenges of raising a large family. In retirement, they enjoyed spending time at their cabin in the Mt. Washington Valley, N.H., and at their residence in Florida as well as their travels abroad, especially to Ireland.

Bill is survived by his 11 children, Julie Zohn and her husband, Bob of Boston, Adria Lancaster and her husband, Bill of Walpole, Judy Potter of Al Wakrah, Qatar, Bruce Potter and his wife, Anita of Danvers, Suzanne Allison and her husband, Bob of Topsfield, David Potter and his wife, Liz of Danvers, Mary LeBlanc and her husband, Mike of Danvers, Mark Potter and his wife, Ginny of Hamilton, Shawn Potter and his wife, Barbara of Hamilton, Richard Potter and his wife, Helen of Hamilton, William Potter and his wife, Margo of Middleton and New York City. He is also survived by sister, Patricia Salvo of Salem, Gratia Milliken of Windham, N.H.; 21 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his sisters, Margaret MacDonald and Pauline Papalardo.

The Potter family would like to extend its sincere appreciation to the nurses, aides and chaplain from All Care VNA and Hospice who provided professional and compassionate care to their father.
Visitation will be held at the Campbell Funeral Home at 525 Cabot Street, Beverly on Tuesday, Today, April 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, April 12, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary Annunciation Church at 24 Conant St., Danvers. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Information, directions, condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com.
Published on  April 11, 2017
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