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William Edward Cheshire, Jr.

December 7, 1942 January 21, 2022
William Edward Cheshire, Jr.
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Obituary for William Edward Cheshire, Jr.

Bill Cheshire, son, brother, father, animal lover, party animal and friend has been called away to join a celestial choir. He was 79.

William Edward Cheshire, Jr. was born December 7, 1942 to William Edward and Josephine Bryant Cheshire. He is survived by daughters, Sumer (Jordan) Armstrong and grandson, Elliot of Carrboro, Victoria Jones of El Salvador; brothers, Richard (Jane) Cheshire of Hartsville, SC and Jamie Cheshire (Lynn Byrd) of Winston-Salem, NC.

There was nothing small or quiet about Bill Cheshire. There was no Bill Cheshire Lite. He threw himself into everything he did. Whatever it was, he did it right now and with cannons. It could be selling clothes as a young man working in a men's store or wowing his pesky little brothers with tricked out cars. It was teaching and coaching. It was a raft of fried baloney sandwiches rustled up for a trip to the races at Thunder Mountain. It was building reputation-winning show cars. It was being a Dad. It was a habit and a way of being that would follow him his whole life.

Behind Bill's charisma, sharp wardrobe and sleek cars was an open heart and a generous hand that gave everyone a sense of importance. Everyone meant everyone. No one was left out. Bill emanated a sense of possibility that enveloped those around him. With Bill, you realized you were bigger than you thought.

Bill was a lifelong lover of animals and he became a haven for them. As he got older, he became particularly attentive to dogs with problems. Humane Societies and County Animal Shelters often asked Bill if he could take one more. The answer was yes.

Early on, Bill had to learn how to divide love and devotion into equal servings and send them in two different directions. He never showed the fatigue that requirement brings and when he was there, his two kid brothers rushed him the unrelenting way puppies do. And we always wanted him there.

One constant in Bill's life was admiration for his father. His desire for his father could not be hidden and he spent a lot of energy looking for approval he didn't realize he didn't need to work for. Our father's eyes shined a bright and steady light on Bill through his mistakes as well as his brilliance.

If Bill loved and respected his father, he was unconditionally devoted to his mother. He returned to Plymouth when she grew old and needed him. He reconfigured his life to match her need.

Bill Cheshire took his father's sudden and extraordinary generosity and amplified it. After his mother's passing, he remained in Plymouth. The town of his boyhood was his friend. He settled into managing the residential properties his mother had left him and went on with his lifelong work of building the show cars for which he had long been well known.

He became such a cornerstone of his neighborhood that they called it "Bill's Block." Tenants became neighbors. Neighbors became friends. And friends became family. They were his daily community through the end of his life. Nothing happened in Bill's world without their awareness and attention.

Bill had been a regular at Grace Baptist Church in Plymouth since May of 2001 and joined the church in 2008. At church, like everywhere else, Bill was all in - often staying behind after the service to press Pastor Lee for some finer point on the sermon or scripture.

The expanse of Bill Cheshire's heart has never yet been measured. It's best to just feel it. To feel it, all that's required is that you know him. As certainly as he would welcome a friend or open his heart and his door to an animal in need, he could also be found pitching in to help move things along in a soup kitchen. Serving. Taking Care. Stepping into need.

There were imperfections. There were demons to fight and dragons to slay, and Bill's armor was dented. Sometimes the light had a dark side. And some of the breaks were never sent for repair. Bill Cheshire made his mistakes with the same all-or-nothing commitment he brought to everything else. He kept the curtain closed on parts of his life for reasons only he recognized. Knowing that is a weight and we bear it.

The block, the neighborhood, the town, the family, and the world feel his absence. But the loss is only transition. Details expire. Bill Cheshire's rays stream out in all directions. And they go on. If you knew him, you know.

A celebration of Bill's life will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at 11:00 am at Hillside Memorial Gardens.

If you'd like to do something to honor Bill or your friendship with him, please consider fostering an animal or donating to an animal shelter. Or, you can step in at the soup kitchen, or just help someone who needs help. That's what Bill did.

Arrangements are by Maitland Funeral Home, Plymouth.

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