MILLBURY - On Friday, April 29, 2022 William R. “Bill” Stafinski, 84, passed from this life in his own home following a period of declining health. Bill was an unforgettable husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend and neighbor to so many. He was loved and is missed for many reasons. He was surrounded by family members at the time of his passing.
Bill was born in Worcester on July 29, 1937 to Marguerite (Greene) and Frank Stafinski, Sr. and grew up in the Quinsigamond Village section of Worcester. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by an infant sister Alice and sisters Jackie and Elaine.
He is survived by his devoted wife Lil. They were married for 64 years. He is survived by three children: Norma Francesco, Susan Johnson and her husband Mark, and Scott Stafinski and his wife Aline Rezende. He also leaves his brother Frank Jr., known as “Skip,” his sister Janice Bourgeois and his stepsister Fran Babin along with nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, colleagues, friends and neighbors.
He was known and loved as “Papa” to grandchildren Nicole Bourassa-Pratt and her husband Nathaniel Pratt, Thomas Bourassa and his partner Brianna Balise, Zachary Johnson, Kirsten Johnson, Justin Stafinski and his wife Carrie, Jeffrey Stafinski and his wife Sarah, a granddaughter Sarah Stafinski, Sarah’s sister Madison Malo, her brother Joey Malo and their mother Amy Malo, and Jonathan Oliveira. He was the anchoring support in the lives of many of his grandchildren. They will feel his loss acutely.
Any day now he would have acquired a proud new title: great grandfather. He was eagerly hoping to welcome his first great grandchildren from Nicole and her husband Nate and from Jeff and his wife Sarah. He even chose one of the names himself and happily announced this to everyone.
Bill worked for 31 years at Johnson Steel and Wire in Worcester until its closing. He then became Building Engineer for the commercial property known as Chestnut Place in Worcester. Bill next worked for Keating Landscaping until the pandemic made him fully retire. Throughout his life Bill acquired and employed a host of skills that benefitted many: he was handy and could fix anything. If you needed carpentry work, plumbing, electrical, wallpapering, painting or stonemasony work Bill was your man.
He devoted a great deal of time and heartfelt energy to the upkeep and improvement of the former Bethlehem Covenant Church on Greenwood Street in Worcester’s Quinsigamond Village neighborhood. He and Lil brought their children and grandchildren to Bethlehem Covenant and to its affiliated camp on the shores of Lake Swanzey in New Hampshire for years. Meaningful friendships and memories were created.
Bill was the consummate storyteller. He had a way of looking you in the eye and addressing you by name so that you felt seen and known. He’d then deliver (with a straight face) a story with an ending that you never saw coming. The first pleasure was often to laugh out loud at the unexpected ending. The subsequent pleasure was to hear him retell the story to a new listener and relive the experience through that person’s reaction. Sometimes the details changed along the way. This only added more amusement and color.
He loved limericks and would recite or sing them. He had a wonderful singing voice and would call his grandchildren on their birthdays to sing Happy Birthday. He harbored a dream or two of becoming another Elvis, and used to sport the sideburns to prove it. He loved flowers and maintained robust and colorful plantings around his house and yard. He and Lil kept an open-door policy for loved ones to visit at any time and many visits took place under the back porch canopy amidst flowering plants. Someone, often a grandchild, was always dropping by.
Bill’s enormous pleasure was his grandchildren. He took them to Coney Island for hot dogs, to Disneyworld, around New England and to Red Sox games wearing his ever-present Red Sox cap. He made many visits to Susan’s children in Oregon where he loved the landscape. He once drove a granddaughter to school every morning for two years so that she wouldn’t have to wait for the school bus. He was extremely proud of all of his grandchildren and expressed this frequently to family friends.
A graveside service will take place at 11 a.m. in Central Cemetery in Millbury on Thursday, May 5. The family requests that flowers be omitted.
Bill was generous in more ways than can be listed here. To honor him, please consider making a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital at https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html or at 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105.