By Terry Ward – WestMetroNews – I’ve searched for a way to deal with the loss of my good friend, Bill Mooneyhan who passed away last Saturday. His funeral is at 2 p.m. Friday at Providence Presbyterian Church, Hummingbird Drive, West Columbia.
The death of Bill is not only my loss, but a loss to anyone who supports the well-being of West Columbia. Bill always promoted the place where he lived and those he cared about.
He touched many and they have expressed their affection for him on social media. Dealing with his death is a struggle, but writing about him helps.
First, I remember Bill’s generosity and how much it meant to me.
I knew him for about eight years. Former West Columbia Mayor Bobby Horton introduced me to Bill. As a news person, Bill was somebody I needed to know. But he was a giver, too.
In time, to thank me, Bill has given me and my wife, Lana, gift certificates to Cafe Strudel and Terra. He has given me tickets he’d purchased to Taste on the River, the West Columbia Beautification Foundation’s Tribute for Trees; the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber Gala and the Airport High School Education Foundation dinner.
On top of that, Bill has given me a free oil change at Mooneyhan’s Repair Service. He gave us pancake suppers and a bar-b-que Boston butt from charity work he did with the Cayce-West Columbia Lion’s Club.
I never asked for, or required any of these gifts. Bill just gave them because he was generous. I know of many others who have told me that he has bestowed gifts upon them, too.
Also, as a businessman, Bill would refer me to the car repair shops of colleagues he was a mentor to, instead of taking the business himself. Because they needed new customers.
Bill liked to talk
Just last week Bill told me he called West Columbia Developer Joe Taylor. Joe was on the road and told Bill he had 45 minutes before he got to his destination and he was sure Bill would take at least that amount of time to talk. Close friend Steve Cohen would tell Bill his phone battery was dying, when he needed to get back to work. Bobby Horton knew his lunch hour would double to two, if Mooneyhan happened to catch him on the way out of Compton’s.
Many of us had the pleasure of Bill’s extended phone conversations. I’d go by Mooneyhan’s too, and listen to Bill. He always had something entertaining or informative to tell you. It’s why I sought him out. He knew what was going on. He loved to tell you about his family, too; past and present.
Bill would drop a name. But I didn’t think he was talking about anyone to build up himself. He usually did it as respect for that person. He wanted you to know they were somebody, in order to build their stature. And in the capacity of name-dropper, Bill served as a conduit for the community. He spread news, but it was in an effort to bring various segments together for progress.
Price, Williams, and Mooneyhan are the families about which Bill would share tales. Those stories would include Legendary Clemson Football Coach Frank Howard, his great uncles Earl and Billy, and his aunts (Aunt Lena as I recall) who lived in the New Brookland Mill Village. His cousin is Kathy Rish. She and her husband Mac, former West Columbia mayor, used to babysit Bill when he was a child.
One story was of Constable James Earle Price. Bill’s great uncle, who was shot and killed by a bootlegger in 1925 at the Gervais Street Bridge.
Bill’s New Brookland family included mayors, teachers, fire chiefs, city officials and a state representative. He was very proud of them all.
And no one loved his father as much as Bill loved Bob Mooneyhan, longtime football coach and and athletic director at Airport High School. He was proud of his mother, Anne Price Mooneyhan, who taught English at Brookland-Cayce High School.
And the family closest to Bill, he loved most. He was severely protective of his children. Emily, Michelle, Charlene, Bill Jr. and grandson, David. If anyone showed harm toward his children, they were going to have to go through Bill Mooneyhan to get to them. He loved his wife Laura, and made sure you knew how much he thought of her. Bill genuinely cared about his sister, Kathy and brother Robert, and all of his extended family. Bill would spend Sunday mornings visiting his elderly relatives at nursing homes.
As I age, I realize the importance of the legacy you build in your life. Bill’s legacy is one of fellowship, family and giving. Upon Bill’s death, I have lost a cherished friend. But I will remember Bill Mooneyhan, and the things he told me, for as long as live.
Bill Mooneyhan’s legacy is one that will live on after him. I know I have learned a lot from him.