We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Daly Leach Memorial Chapel
William “Bill” Delaney, 88, of Hamilton passed away peacefully in his sleep on September 19th, 2022, after spending the prior evening with family and watching the Packers win. Though his death equates to running out of books to read, he will once again be able to join members of his beloved daily “coffee crew”.
Bill was born September 21, 1933, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to Charles and Rose Delaney. He grew up as the baby of three children, in a household with his siblings Chuck and Betty, his father, and his stepmother Gertrude A. Delaney. The family spent time around Bonners Ferry, Idaho and areas in Arizona, before settling in Polson, Montana. Bill was a graduate of Polson High School and served two years in the military prior to attending Northern Montana College in Havre.
While attending college, he met the love of his life, Dean Kay Blue. He and Dean married on June 15, 1957. In their 65 years of marriage, they lived across the state of Montana in Havre, Big Sandy, and Grand Forks ND, before making their home in Hamilton. Bill and Dean welcomed their first daughter, Kelly Kay, in 1960 and second daughter, Casey Jean, in 1964. While growing the family, Bill pursued his Master's Degree in science teaching from University of North Dakota. Their ultimate home at 110 Geneva Avenue saw many pets and animal friends, including Boston Terriers (Teeter, Clancy, and Max), other beloved dogs (Bailey, Mickey, Schultzy, Schnapps, Bobby Neva) and many colorful and brief stints with classroom animals such as alligators, gerbils, a monkey, a porcupine, and various odds and ends during his teaching career.
“Mr. D.” taught chemistry and physics for 32 years. Starting out at Big Sandy and ending in Hamilton, Bill taught us a little bit of everything, including photography. Past students may fondly remember the discovery of chemistry through his famous “Unknowns” lab in class— even students and teachers not in his classes would know by the rotten egg smell that week in the hallways of school. Past students may also remember Delaney-isms like “a pints a pound the world around”, “people” as opposed to calling his students kids, “so so”, “the number one rule is don't hand me a piece of hot glass!”, and the list goes on and on. If you had Mr. D as a student, you probably have a fond Delaney-ism of your own.
Bill retired from teaching in 1988, and pursued his other passions in life, including wood working and collecting and selling antiques. In 1987, his business Hamtana Antiques was born. A true collector and “King of Stuff”, Bill took pleasure in antiquing trips to Wisconsin, finding a new glass bottle to add to his collection, checking out auction sales, and discussing the history of any interesting collectible he could find. When not keeping an eye open for crocks, Bill spent time with his kids and grandkids, laughing, telling stories, and taking summer road trips to different corners of Montana.
It is hard to imagine the Hamilton community without the influence of Bill. A charter member of Bitterroot Kiwanis, his commitment to the community led him to kickstarting the Hamilton High Key Club, overseeing projects like the Kiwanis Fishing Derby or peeling potatoes for the fair booth, and perhaps most recognizable, spearheading the long-standing Christmastime Hamilton Food Drive in 1974, when he and Gail Lewis decided they wanted to do something about the people in their community that were going hungry around the holidays. Bill’s dedication to leadership in his community lead to recognition as Kiwanis Distinguished President and Distinguished Lieutenant Governor during his tenure. Beyond his active roles in Kiwanis, Bill served on the Ravalli County Weed Board for 5 years, and the Hamilton School Board for 4 years. His enjoyment of wood working spilled over to making cabinetry for local homes and organizations like the hospital. He was community focused and a social butterfly— the man couldn’t step foot into Naps without stopping to chat with someone he knew. If ever the phrase “leave it better than you found it” were applicable, the town of Hamilton and the Bitterroot Valley is a better place for having Bill Delaney call this area home.
Bill was a stubborn Irishman and funny to his core. Blessed with the gift of gab long before him kissing the Blarney Stone, Bill is remembered and well known for his kindness, wit, and huge heart.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents (Charles, Rose, and Gerty), his brother Charles Edward “Chuck” Delaney, his sister Irene Elizabeth “Betty” Helgeson, and son Michael William Delaney.
Bill is survived by his wife Dean Kay Delaney of Hamilton; two daughters, Kelly Kay Schrammeck and Casey Jean Schlienz (Rod), grandkids Sydney Nicole Schrammeck (Landon Dunlap), Ashley Ann Schrammeck (Dietrich Perchy), Ryker Windom Schlienz, Carsen Jean Schlienz, and great grandchild Delaney Rey Dunlap.
Funeral services will be held October 1, 2022, starting at 2 pm at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Hamilton High School, with Ron Hollibaugh officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to be made to the Bill Delaney Memorial Scholarship through the Friends of Hamilton Schools Foundation (217 Daly Ave., Hamilton, MT 59840).
Thank you to Bitterroot Health Hospice team for their kind and compassionate care of Bill in his final year, and for aiding in making his passing peaceful and dignified.
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