|Birth: ||Mar. 29, 1956|
|Death: ||Aug. 14, 2004|
William "Bill" Paul Shapiro, 48, of Watersedge Drive, Deltona, was born on March 29, 1956 in Montclair, NJ to David and Edith Shapiro.
Bill worked as a volunteer firefighter for the Verona Fire Department for 10 years. He later moved to Deltona, FL in 1988 where he worked as a firefighter at Deltona Fire Department for 1 year and currently worked at the Orange County Fire & Rescue, Station #53 for the last 14 ½ years. He was a member of Local #2057 International Association of Firefighters and the Orange County Professional Firefighters.
Bill married my best friend of 37 years in 2001. But first let me back up a bit.
Bill answered an ad in the singles section of the local newspaper. Katie had placed that ad and was hoping to meet some people that were interesting but most of all, perhaps finding that one special guy. She called me to tell me that this fire fighter had answered her ad and they had hit it off and talked on the phone for hours. This went on for several days and many many hours of conversation. They set a time for a meet and greet and Bill came by her place after he got off his shift one morning. Katie said she wanted to see him in his uniform so she opened the door to find Bill standing there in his yellow FF slickers. I'm not sure if he brought his axe.
Now Bill was no slouch. Some guys bring flowers on the first date. Some bring candy. Bill was no different. Well, a lil different. He brought Katie a fire extinguisher for her apt. That was so cute and awfully sweet. It all sort of made sense. After all, what did he do for a living? Katie cooked him a nice breakfast ... of pancakes I think.
They dated and Katie got to know Bill and saw that he was really a gem. Bill was "a good son." You know the guys that take care of mom and make sure she has everything she needs? Bill was that guy. He mowed his mom's lawn twice a week (Florida grass grows fast) and fixed anything she had that needed fixing. He enjoyed DIY stuff but most of all, he was just really good to his mom. I remember saying to Katie that the way he treated his mom was such a good sign. Bill was that guy that you could always count on to show up when someone needed help doing something at their house. Whether it was moving, painting, fixing ... Bill would show up ready to work.
For a long time there was no commitment from Bill. They were dating exclusively but no concrete plans. We all knew it was there but Bill wasn't ready to say it yet. Bill was just busy enjoying things with Katie. He started the breakfast club with her dad. Bill had lost his own dad years earlier so he had taken it upon himself to start a weekend tradition of picking up Katie's dad and the two of them would go have breakfast together and drink coffee and read the paper and chat and just be two guys having breakfast. "Guy time."
Finally, he was ready and committed and took Katie to dinner on a boat that cruised a waterway. It was there that he proposed to her. The wheels were set in motion. The wedding planned and everyone traveled in to be there.
I came from California and got to see all the family. Katie and I have been part of each others families since we were 10 so it was nice to see so many relatives I hadn't seen in years and some I had only heard about over the years and seen in photos or paintings.
The rehearsal dinner was at a favorite Chinese restaurant and it was there that I met Bill's family. At some point during dinner something came up and Bill pulled his shirt over his head like a sweatshirt and started doing an impression of "Beavis, the Great Cornholio." I was dyin. I remember laughing so hard I snorted and had tears. I really fell in love with Bill that moment. He was hysterical. He just let loose and we were all laughing so hard. Bill was always a jokester and being a fire fighter, he had ample opportunity to play jokes on people. Bill, as Beavis, was very endearing. LOL
The wedding was on the same boat on which he had proposed to Katie. I stood by my best friend as they took their vows at the bow of the boat. It was lovely. The party was great and the food fabulous and a great time was had by all.
They settled into a life together. Bill put out fires and Katie sold time-shares. They took trips together and visited the Caribbean, Hawaii, Grand Canyon, Vegas, etc... I'm so glad they took those trips. Bill was a master scuba diver and Katie took a course to get her certificate to dive. They took several diving vacations after that.
They also found some land and built their dream house. It was great to see the photos of the house taking shape in its various stages of construction. They had it built custom so they were able to have it just the way they wanted it. They moved in and one Bill's FF brothers lived next door. Life was great.
Hurricane Charley pulled into town in August of 2004 and wreaked havoc all over Florida. I had a hard time reaching Katie to make sure everything was ok. When I finally reached her (the power had been out and it was crazy) I knew instantly that something was very wrong. I thought their house had been lost. Then she told me that Bill had died.
After the storm passed through the following morning they went out to survey the damages. They had lost a couple trees and while Katie went to refill her mom's (Hester Preble) O2 cylinder, Bill and his neighbor got chain saws to clear the fallen trees. Katie called to check on Bill since he had an argument with his brother the night before and was concerned about him. Bill assured her that everything was fine and they ended the call with a typical exchange of I love you.
Bill was taking a break with his friend and after hanging up the phone he turned to him and said, I have this splitting headache that just won't quit. He said he didn't tell Katie because he didn't want her to worry about him. He sat back and then went into what looked like a seizure. His friend expected Bill to be joking around but this was no joke. Bill was having a coronary.
His friend called in to 911 and the paramedics responded quickly. Being a FF he started CPR immediately and when help arrived, the responders knew Bill. They worked so very hard to try to save him. The doctors in the ER worked extra hard too. Everyone went the extra mile because he was one of them, and they knew him. But ... it was just Bill's time to go.
Everyone lost someone that day. Katie lost her husband, his mom lost her son, I lost a friend, Kenny - Bill's best friend, lost his dearest buddy, the station lost a brother, and the community lost a dedicated fire fighter that was always ready to help them. Katie's dad is a second dad to me and we were talking about Bill being gone and missing him. He said that he now knew what it was to lose a son because Bill had truly become his son.
Bill received a full honors funeral. His brothers "brought him home" with his casket riding atop the flag draped fire truck. Katie was in the car behind it and said she could see people stopping and bowing their heads as the procession passed by them. She was touched as she saw some construction workers several floors up on some steel girders. They stopped working and stood up, then they removed their hard hats as the procession passed. Everyone lost someone when Bill died.
Bill is missed and loved by so many. He was a great husband and friend. I told Katie that I felt bad for whomever tried to date her in the future. Bill would be a tough act to follow. Katie is now in a relationship and I know that pleases Bill. He would want her to carry on and carry him with her, just as she does.
Bill's name was added to the National Fallen Fire Fighters memorial.
Bill's Mother-in-law, Hester Lee Preble passed away January 19, 2007.
David Shapiro (1923 - 1986)
Edith Shapiro (1926 - 2009)
Deltona Memorial Gardens
Created by: Zen
Record added: May 14, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26828429