ALASKA DAY – A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka color guard pauses on their march down Lincoln Street as Jayhawk helicopters fly over St. Michael's Cathedral during the Alaska Day parade Friday. Hundreds turned out for the parade and a full schedule of events over the weekend. More photos from the Alaska Day Festival are printed on page 8 of today's Sentinel. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

William McNally Dies; Former Sitkan was 72

William McNally


William Floyd McNally was born Feb. 13, 1947, during a raging snowstorm. His dad, Harold McNally, had to drive his mom, Marguerite, to the small hospital in Yale, Michigan, following behind a snowplow.
He was raised on the family dairy farm in Brown City, Michigan. He went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the early morning hours of July 5, 2019.
Bill attended schools in Brown City and later went on to Mott Community College and then Michigan State University, where he graduated with his B.S. degree, He was in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and played on the high school football team. He was also in the band, and the school was so small he was asked to play football and then be in the band during half time. He made the choice of playing football.
After Bill graduated from Michigan State in 1969, he became a conservation officer for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. After eight years, Bill left Michigan and headed for his new job in Alaska working for the National Marine Fisheries Service as a Special Agent and then as the supervisor of the Sitka office. He retired from NMFS in 2002, after 24 years of service.
In 1985, on a blind date, Bill met the love of his life, Mary Jo, who had just moved to Sitka from Minnesota. He always said, ‘‘Thank God for imports!’’ After he retired from NMFS, they opened Fly Away Fly Shop in downtown Sitka. There they never worked harder nor loved what they did more. Countless friendships were made throughout their business-owning years, friendships that are deep and meaningful even today. Bill could teach someone to fly-cast in only hours – he was a great teacher!
After closing the fly shop in 2009, they began their travels. They left in the fall of 2010 for their first winter ‘‘down south.’’ Every year after, they made their way south, visiting friends and family from Washington State to Key West. They loved driving the roads of America after living for 40 years with only 15 miles of road in Sitka.
Bill loved Sitka Young Life and was devoted to making cinnamon rolls for the Friday morning boys’ group. He loved his friends and his church family and was always willing to help them and strangers alike. He had a hearty laugh and was bigger than life itself. He was caring and giving and always concerned about others more than himself.
In 2017, Bill and Mary Jo said their good-byes to Sitka and headed to Post Falls, Idaho, where they established their new home and life. They had many plans to fish the rivers and lakes of Northern Idaho and Western Montana, but illness and poor and failing health never allowed those dreams to come true. He got sick only three weeks after they moved into their new home and he fought a valiant battle for a long 17 months, believing he was going to once again be strong and healthy enough to fulfill those dreams. Sadly, that didn’t happen, and he passed away peacefully at home on July 5 with Mary Jo by his side.
Bill is survived by his wife Mary Jo, his sister and brother-in-law Kathy and Jim Num, and mother-in-law Sue Linder, all of Post Falls, Idaho; ‘‘adopted children’’ Jeff and Jakala Bowling and their two children Jeffrey  and Jackson of Spokane, Washington; Tim and Bree Davis and their two children Morgan and Jacob of Waverly, Georgia; Michele (Stephenson) and Jason Warren and son Aidan of Cary, North Carolina; brother and sister-in-law Charlie and Lori Aldean of Woodbury, Minnesota; and nieces and nephews Jacob and Sarah Aldean and their three children; Chuck and Emily Aldean and their two children; and Carla and Dan Cheng and their three children.
A memorial service will be held at Grace Harbor Church on Sunday, August 25, at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Sitka Young Life, P.O. Box 2046, Sitka, AK 99835.
 

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