William Allison Headley, Jr. entered into his Heavenly home Thursday morning, July 20. He was born in Downings, Virginia on September 2, 1929, the son of Allison and Nettie Wright Headley. He graduated from Farnham High School as the valedictorian of his class, and then attended Virginia Tech as a member of the Cadet Corps. There he was Captain of “N” company and a member of the German Club (a social club). He graduated with a degree in architectural engineering. While there, he met Helen Grant of Martinsville, Virginia. They were married in September of 1951, and recently celebrated their 65th anniversary. Shortly after their marriage, he reported for duty as a member of the U.S. Army Infantry at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He served in the Korean War, where he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, and then Captain. He served faithfully, and was awarded two bronze stars.
Upon his return to the United States, he and Helen moved to Portsmouth, Virginia. He was part of a team that solved a major vibration issue on the USS Forrestal at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. After a short time working for Chrysler Corporation in Detroit, the family moved to Orlando in 1957. Bill worked at the Glen Martin Company (now Lockheed Martin) for 15 years. He worked on several missile systems and was part of a team that built the first laser guided munitions. When he left Martin, he was the President Elect of the International Laser Federation. He also received his Master’s Degree from Rollins College.
In 1971, Bill met Cecil Day from Atlanta at a businessmen’s Bible class. Cecil was just beginning to build the Days Inns hotel chain, and he hired Bill to join his company, first as Director of Construction for Florida, and then as President of Day Realty of Florida, President of Day Realty of Richmond, Virginia and Senior Executive Vice President of Days Inns of America. He retired from the company when the chain sold in 1984.
Bill was an avid antique tool collector, traveling to shows across the U.S. to buy, sell, and trade tools. He was a member of the Midwest Tool Collectors Club, and made a number of great friends who shared his passion for tools.
Bill served our community as an original member of the Tourist Development Council that planned the Orange County Convention Center, on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce, and on numerous industry committees and boards.
His faith ran deep and he displayed that in the work he did for a number of Christian organizations. He was on an advisory board for the School of Ministry at Palm Beach Atlantic University, the Board for Florida Baptist Financial Services, and was an Ambassador for Haggai Institute (Atlanta). He was a long time member of First Baptist Church Orlando where he served as a Trustee, Chairman of the Deacons, and on numerous committees. He taught a Bible Study class almost his entire adult life. He taught young boys, married young adults, and adults over many decades. His long relationship with Campus Crusade for Christ, now Cru, led him to manage the construction of Cru's first Orlando headquarters when they relocated to Orlando from California.
Bill is survived by his wife, Helen, his sons, Chip (Cheryl) Headley and Tom (Lisa) Headley; his daughter, Lee Anne (Derrick) Smith; his brother, Vernon (Michelle) Headley; and eleven grandchildren: Erin (Kris) Warren, Chelsea Headley, Lauren Headley, Will (Anna) Headley, Sarah (Anthony) Nadelkov, Derrick Smith, Katie (Joao) Taurisano, and Jennifer, Laura, Thomas, and Emily Headley. He is also survived by six great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Bill was predeceased by his parents, William Allison and Nettie Headley, his brother, Garland Wright Headley, and his sister, Ann Headley Stone.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held on Friday, July 28, 2017 at First Baptist Orlando in Henry Chapel. Visitation will be at 1PM, followed by a service at 2PM. The family is so grateful for all the love, kindness and care of Bill during the last days of his illness by Inspired Living and Vitas Hospice. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Annual Scholarship Fund at Palm Beach Atlantic University (901 S. Flagler Drive; West Palm Beach, FL 33401) or to Haggai Institute (P. O. Box 13; Atlanta, GA 30301-9989). A private Interment will be at Greenwood Cemetery, Orlando.
Our sincere condolances on the loss of your husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Martin and Pamela ArmstrongKissimmee, FL