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William Henry Pelkey, Jr.

2021-07-22

William Henry Pelkey Jr., an avid animal lover, painter, Vietnam war veteran, and U.S. Postal Service retiree, passed away peacefully early the morning of July 22, 2021, at the young age of 84.

Most knew him as “Bill,” but those closest to him called him “Dad” or “Pops.” He is survived by his sons Sam Lewis Pelkey, and William Henry Pelkey III of Fernandina Beach, FL, his daughter Rullah Nelle Price of Charlotte, NC, his sisters Pamela and Delores and Sam’s wife and Bill’s best friend, “partner in crime” and loving caretaker, Angela. He is preceded in death by his parents, his late wife Christine, and sister Florence. He is also survived by a “gazillion” grandchildren and great-grandchildren, primarily thanks to Sam and Angela, who brought him great joy and happiness.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on July 10, 1937, to Rosetta and William Pelkey, Bill was raised in a traditional Catholic home. After graduating high school, Bill departed to be with his first and true love: the United States Army.

First Sergeant William H. Pelkey dedicated his life to serving his country - including two Vietnam War tours and several tours in Germany. Over his 29 years of military service, Bill’s exemplarily leadership earned him the recognition of a Bronze Star Medal with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnam Service Medal with eight Bronze Service Stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 Device, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, and over 50 military ribbons.

After his retirement, it came as no surprise that Bill looked quickly for his next uniform and “tour of duty.” He went on to work for the United States Postal Service for another ten years. After finally choosing to retire again, Bill moved to Amelia Island, Florida.

Bill’s sons Sam and Billy will fondly remember spending time at the beach, fishing, poking fun “every chance he could”, his giant laughter and trying (not so) hard to stay out of trouble. Bill’s daughter Rullah will remember her father being proud of her achievements, but concerned about her hard-headedness and focus on work – a trait she was quick to remind him was the result of the apple falling close to the tree. He will be remembered by all who knew him for his adventurous spirit, care of others, and as an example of a good and kind man. While it took many years, he came to understand his family was of most importance. In his final days, he found peace, appreciated, and accepted the reality—the past mistakes do not define who we are today.

We know it is not possible to wrap our arms around Bill at present. We will all miss him every day, but we are forever grateful we will be able to embrace and wrap our hearts around the memorable moments we had with him.

Services to celebrate his life will be at 2:00 pm on Saturday, July 31, 2021 in the Burgess Chapel of Oxley-Heard Funeral Home with Military Honors.
The family has requested in lieu of flowers to send donations to Military Warriors Support Foundation at militarywarriors.org.

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