William Gene Ladd

August 31, 1936 – January 4, 2023

William “Wild Bill” Ladd, who fancied himself as a jokester, a ladies’ man, and a great dancer died on Wednesday, January 4, 2023.

Bill started his story as a middle child of seven of Merton and Gertrude Ladd of Moravia, New York. In 1951, at the age of 15, Bill was involved in a fatal car accident that took Merton’s life. Bill was in a coma for a while and in the hospital for a long time having to learn how to walk again. Bill did not go back to school but helped around the family restaurant and farm until 1953, when he celebrated his 17th birthday by enlisting in the U.S. Army. Bill was sent to Korea where he served on the frontlines as a Combat Medic in the Korean War and earned the National Defense Service Medal. During home leave, Bill met the love of his life, Helen, and married her on January 19, 1957. Bill and Helen served an Army tour in Germany where, in 1957, they started their family of seven children.

In April of 1958, Bill was honorably discharged from the Army and started his civilian life in central New York. Bill and Helen settled in the Village of Minoa, New York where they raised their family and Bill mastered his craft of autobody repair in which he could transform a totally smashed automobile and make it look brand new.

In 1986, Bill had enough of the winter weather of central New York and moved his family to Zephyrhills, Florida. Bill and Helen worked in Florida until they were able to retire, which allowed them to make their annual summer trips, over the last 25 years, to visit with their children and other family residing in Colorado, California, Arizona, South Carolina, Texas, and New York.

As Bill aged, he became more relaxed and found humor in life. Over the last 16 years, Bill found much comfort with his beloved dog Wellington. Bill loved listening to his police scanner and his favorite country music stars, such as Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Cash. Even in his last year, Bill really enjoyed “going to the club” where he was able to “dance with and get lots of hugs from the ladies”.

Bill is survived by his wife, Helen, six children, William Jr., Carl, Tracey, Randolph, Daniel, and Laura, his one remaining sibling, Judy, and 14 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.

Bill will be buried, with military honors, at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida on Friday, January 27, 2023.

Family and friends will gather to celebrate Bill’s life on January 28, 2023, at 1:00 p.m., at the VFW located 12735 Vfw Road, Dade City, FL 33525. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org or 1-800-272-3900. Bill suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, which ultimately took his life.

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