Bill, age 98, of Mt. Lebanon, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 23, 2021. Bill was born May 20, 1923, the last surviving child of the late Margaret (McLaughlin) and William R. McAuley, Sr.; brother of the late Reid McAuley. He grew up in Garfield and Highland Park attending Central Catholic High School, Class of 1941, where he was on the school’s first cross country team.
After his Father’s unexpected death, Bill began working at an early age riding his bike all over the East End and Squirrel Hill sections of Pittsburgh delivering morning newspapers and telegrams for Western Union hoping for a 10-cent tip. He had fond memories of working for the owner of a neighborhood bakery and then moved on to Mesta Machine as a teenager. In the Pittsburgh Federation baseball league, he had a chance to play with some famous players from the major leagues on their days off.
From childhood, Bill was known to be an excellent musician, both as a singer and pianist. He sang on radio broadcasts of the Wilkins Amateur Hour. He was awarded a trip to New York City for a national competition at age 16 but was told after arriving that he was too young and could not compete. After graduating from Central Catholic, he attended Providence College for a year until enlisting in the Army during World War II. Bill became a Medic in the Army. As a Sargent he served in the Pacific and was awarded a Bronze Star on Bougainville Island after a difficult campaign in the Solomon Islands.
Recruited by an officer to entertain the troops on the islands, Bill finally agreed to join an Army band as their singer performing in combat areas during his last months in the Pacific. His most memorable performance was opening for Bob Hope and his troupe of celebrities.
After the war, Bill began working at Sears and Roebuck where he remained for 45 years. He was a well-known figure managing the paint department in East Liberty before the era of big box hardware stores.
Bill was married to Mary Jo Weber McAuley and had three children Arthur (Patricia) McAuley, Margaret (the late James) Campbell, and Barbara (Mark) Emery.
He later married Eleanor Barbara (Barb) Dunmire with whom he celebrated 46 years of marriage until her passing on March 15, 2020. He was stepfather to Barb’s sons Jim (Cindy) Dunmire and John Dunmire. As a grandfather, he enjoyed many activities and family events with beloved Jeffrey, Patrick (Ellen), Virginia (Chris), Mary Kate, Anne (Sean), Kara (Joe), Ronnie and his seven beloved great-grandchildren.
Bill continued his passion for music throughout his life by singing with church choirs and for over 33 years was a dedicated member of the South Hills Chorale, singing many solos. He was still singing with his Irish tenor voice to his family and the residents of Asbury Villas until just before his death. Bill developed a love of golf and enjoyed outings with Barb, other family members, and his golf league. He served as a volunteer at St. Clair Hospital for 20 years after retirement, earning the prestigious Jefferson Award. He also enjoyed participating in the Veterans Breakfast Club. He enjoyed travel and once journeyed to Israel to volunteer in a kibbutz.
Bill was known for his love of gardening. His specialty was growing delicious tomatoes that were prized by all.
Most of all, Bill was known for his joy of life and loyal friendships. He taught us how to reach out to others. Bill loved his family and will always be treasured by them.
Because his wife Barb passed away at the beginning of the pandemic there will be a shared Celebration of Life service for both Bill and Barb at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1066 Washington Rd, Mt. Lebanon, PA on Tuesday, August 10th at 10:00 AM. A luncheon at the Church will follow. Interment in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Bill’s memory to the Central Catholic Scholarship Fund 4720 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 or www.CentralcatholicHS.com/giving or the South Hills Chorale www.southhillschorale.org/donate
Arrangements by Laughlin Cremation & Funeral Tributes
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