William Shackleford, fondly known as Bill, passed away on December 17, 2020, at age 70 in his home in Galloway, OH, after a year-long struggle with ALS.
He was born on January 1, 1950, the youngest of three, to Sara (Davis) and Dudley Shackleford. He grew up in Oak Hill, OH, and from the get-go everyone was worried that he slept on his back and had a flat head. No matter: he was a lovely moon-faced child who enjoyed the Oak Hill library and veals, sang in his church, and may or may not have scared off one of his sister’s suitors with a burp gun from behind a couch. (He remembered the weapon but not the assault.) He graduated from Oak Hill High School in 1968 and went on to Miami University in Oxford, OH, where he studied sociology and psychology.
There, he met his wife Melanie in a first-year English class, where he probably commented quite a bit. She remembers an early date to a 1970 Simon & Garfunkel concert. They listened to the duo play the international debut of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” released before spring 1970 when the National Guard came to campuses in Ohio in response to protests. Bill and Melanie graduated in 1972, and when Melanie went to California for a graduate degree, they talked frequently on the phone. Melanie appreciated Bill’s calming voice. They married in 1974 with little fanfare, as they did most things, and acquired a lot of books for their Columbus apartment as well as their first cat.
With a graduate degree in social work administration from the Ohio State University, Bill spent his career working for the state at the Ohio Department of Health, as a senior policy advisor for the Department of Developmental Disabilities, and finally at the Department of Education, getting the Ohio Medicaid Schools program running. His career centered around ensuring that individuals, especially those with autism or a disability, have the services they need.
Before and after retirement, he could most often be found lounging in his recliner, reading anything from Faulkner to Joyce to David Mitchell and Stephen King. He finished the full Proust opus (or octopus, to quote him). From 2013-2020, he read over 660 books and more than 250,000 pages.
He enjoyed movies, television, theater, Ohio State football, and the Cincinnati Reds. He watched and read widely, but especially appreciated satire, humor, and science fiction. He enjoyed trying new beers with his son, sitting out in the yard talking with his daughter, and going on drives with his wife. To the chagrin of his nuclear family, he was the kind of person who left peanut butter on a door handle.
As a life-long resident of Ohio, he appreciated Ohio restaurants, writers, and treasures. He was intrigued by his Welsh ancestry, and spent time studying his family genealogy.
His sneaky wit, quiet kindness, and ability to listen will be missed. He had an impressively variegated mustache and dark, mischievous eyes that flitted back and forth after jokes.
He is survived, and loved, by his wife of 46 years, Melanie Davis, his two children, Ben and Anne Shackleford, his sister Janice Fraber (Bob), brother Tom (Sue), nieces Beth Exline and Chris Grau (Kurt), and nephews Brad (Katie) and Adam (Migdalia). He leaves many cousins and friends. He is predeceased by his parents, Sara (Davis) and Dudley Shackleford.
Remembrance events (Columbus and Oak Hill) will be planned for a later date. Please leave a note on this website if you are interested in being notified as to place and time. Events will likely be planned only after covid-19 vaccination has become widespread.
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