Billy Charles Maher, 91, passed away on Saturday, June 15, 2019 after a courageous fight with Parkinson’s Disease.
Billy ‘Bill’ was born on June 26, 1927 in Kaiser, Missouri to John O. and Elsie M. Maher. Bill was the sixth of 10 children and spent much of his childhood working alongside his brothers and sisters on their family farm at Kaiser, and later at Indian Creek in Eldon. His mother once recalled that he was the prettiest child, because of his blonde hair and blue eyes. He attended Jefferies School for two years and greatly admired his schoolteacher, Lucian Mace. After his family’s move in 1935, Bill attended McKinley School, where he became especially fond of a game called “cross out” that he played with his friends.
One of the most memorable moments of Bill’s life was listening to President Roosevelt’s Infamy speech on the radio at The Assembly of God Church in December of 1941. He spoke of this event for much of his life, and could recall every detail.
Bill had a choice between attending Barnett or Eldon high schools. He said that he chose Barnett because it was known for being the ‘fun’ school. He graduated from Barnett in 1945.
In his teen years, Bill attended the Kansas wheat harvest, and worked in the Armourdale section of the extra gang with the railroad for a summer.
In June of 1945, Bill became eligible for the draft into the Armed Forces. He was called up in September of 1945 and served in the Navy reserves in San Diego and San Francisco, California.
After getting discharged from the Navy, Bill went home to Missouri. He was unable to find a well paying job, so he contacted his older brother, Ward, who had moved out to California for work. Even though he was homesick, Bill went back to California in September 1946 and worked as a laborer with his brother in construction for Croco and Hansen. Bill would later join the cement Masons Union as an apprentice.
In early 1947, Bill met the love of his life, Betty, and knew instantly that she was the one. Often calling her a ‘real fine lady’, they were married on Aug. 2, 1947 in Vallejo. After their first child, Charles, was born in 1948, they moved back to Missouri for a brief time and came back to California in 1951, where they would have two more children, Beverly in 1952 and Stanley in 1954.
Construction took Bill many places and gave him many different jobs, however, he found his sweet spot in concrete and curb and gutter work. In April of 1958, Bill went into business with his younger brother, Jack and good friend, Harold Hess. Their venture would become known as Maher and Hess, which was in business until 1970.
From 1970 to 1986, Bill ran his own business, Bill Maher and Sons, from his Union Street office in Vallejo, and talked of what great crews and supervision he had for much of his life after retirement.
When he retired from construction in 1986, he sold his business to his superintendents, Harold Strange and Harry Chalmers.
Bill was very active in coaching Little League in Vallejo’s Wilson Park for his company’s team, Maher and Hess. He found great fulfillment in mentoring all the young players and spent many years often recollecting what an enjoyable time it was in his life.
Bill and Betty moved on from city life in Vallejo and bought acreage in Green Valley, just outside the limits of Fairfield in 1976. They built a house and what would become known as ‘Maher’s Mini Zoo’ a passion project of his beloved wife. Grade school children would visit on field trips to see the large variety of animals they’d acquired from time to time.
In their later years, Bill and Betty enjoyed traveling, farm life, and being Grandpa and Grandma to five grandchildren. After being retired for a while, Bill decided to embark on a new adventure, the self-storage industry. He enlarged his Union Street property in Vallejo to hold 435 units, purchased Airbase Self Storage in Sacramento and later Five Star Storage in Vallejo.
Bill always spoke of how proud he was of his family and greatly treasured his time with every last member. His heart was so selfless and his nature so kind, helpful, and tender. He built a life based on hard work, dedication, love, and honesty and will be missed very much.
He is survived by his brother, John ‘Jack’ (Aline) Maher, of Napa; sisters, Laura Alice Maher Siebert and Ramona Maher Taylor of Kansas; son, Bill ‘Charles’ Maher of Texas; daughter, Beverly and son-in-law, Jerry LeMasters of Fairfield; he leaves behind five grandchildren, Jennifer Maher (Will) Dangerfield and Aaron Mather of Texas, Amanda Maher LeMasters of Fairfield and Alexander and Andrew Maher of Texas.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty; son, Stanley; six brothers and sisters, Raymond Maher, Malcom (Mac) Maher, Elizabeth (Beth) Maher Dunstan, Ward Maher, Nelle Maher Runyan, James Maher; and several beloved nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with service starting at 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 25, 2019, at Rockville Stone Chapel, 4205 Suisun Valley Road Fairfield. Interment will follow the service in the Rockville Cemetery, followed by a celebration of life at 3 p.m. at Green Valley Country Club, 35 Country Club Dr., Fairfield, California.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.
Arrangements under the care of Bryan-Braker Funeral Home, 707-425-4697,