PIEKARSKI, WILLIAM M. Age 62, of Shaler Twp., on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
Loving father of Troy M. Piekarski (Kim), Derek W. Piekarski (Shelley) and the late Zak J. Piekarski; beloved Pap Pap of Maximus, Evelynn, Adriana, Monroe, Vera and Victoria; beloved brother of Gene Piekarski (Micheline), Dave Piekarski (Bobbie) and Rich Piekarski (Sue); uncle of Marc, Alissa, Richie, Garrett, Jackie and Mike; also survived by his dedicated canine companion, Jordan.
Billy Pie drove a big rig for Iron City Brewing for over three decades until Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia forced him away from his dream job in 2012. He was fanatical over Iron City and collected everything from old beer cans, stickers and posters, to tap handles, pint glasses and neon lights…and trust us, EVERYTHING in between.
He was the original American Picker. Bill was the guy who brought the beer. We're sure that no one used that employee discount anymore liberally. Whether it was house parties, block parties, Braun Jeffrey baseball picnics, wedding receptions, grad parties…you name it and he was there towing kegs or an assortment of cases. It was always Iron City products, because anything else was sacrilege to him. He carried his passion for his beloved brand to his now legendary days in the Steelers tailgating circuit where he was a staple.
Every Steelers Sunday you could find him and his pals indiscriminately doling out free Iron City from his truck to passersby and a few loyal regulars. Bill could also be found socially creating lasting friendships at a number of local watering holes including some of his favorites: 31st Street Pub, DOH Club of ETNA, Shaler Lounge, Grist House and Nox's Tavern. We would be remiss not to mention Bill's never-ending quest to find the best fish sandwich in town, but his favorites (other than Armand's and The Original Oyster House) changed far too frequently to mention. Bill loved music. He frequently listened to '70s and '80s rock (also adored the DVE Morning Show), '90s alternative, eventually country music and then whatever crazy stuff his sons were always getting him into. At its peak, his vinyl collection was the stuff of dreams. In his last years, his love of music led to impromptu dance parties at his house with his grandkids and The Voice EVERY Monday and Tuesday. You simply could not separate him from watching that show. And if he wasn't snuggling up with a grandkid while viewing it, he'd painstakingly send his sons a text message reminder from his flip phone for them to watch it.
Bill was addicted to basketball, perennially on the playground day and night growing up. His skills took him all the way to a full ride at Duquesne University where he was recruited by Red Manning. Bill also received recruiting letters signed by the likes of Howard Garfinkel, Bobby Knight, Digger Phelps and a host of others, but the Duquesne Dukes were formidable in those days…and local, which was most important to Bill in order to stay close to his loved ones. Even though he declined opportunities to play in Europe, Bill never quit hoops after college and could be found tearing up the court in the Duquesne Alumni League and dominating 3-on-3 classics well into his forties. We're positive he is presently hooping in Heaven with his deceased teenage b-ball star son, Zak. At 6' 8" and 270 lbs, Bill was an amateur body builder approached by WWF in his heyday; truly a Paul Bunyon of a man.
Bill was as blue collar and salt of the earth as it gets. He had well over 100 Harley Davidson shirts, but only finally acquired an actual bike - a navy blue gently used Harley Road King - of his own just months before his disease left him unable to operate it. But boy did he have fun shining it up, driving it around his block at less than 25 mph and posing for pictures with his grandchildren on it for those few precious months. As big as he was, Bill's largest attribute was his heart. That heart translated to him habitually looking for opportunities to help those in need, an undying work ethic (he even had a landscaping and lawn business after the workday to make ends meet), cooking banquet-sized meals for his loved ones and an indomitable love for his friends and most of all, family. Family was everything to Bill. Whether he was emptying toy shelves to stock up on goodies for his six grandchildren (the day after he passed we found two closets full of grandkid gifts packed to the gills), being an automatic presence at his grandkids' swimming, basketball and baseball games, or taking on his new dream job of babysitting those kiddos, they became his lifeblood. Bill lived for the moments that provided him with the opportunity to spend time with his family. He never once said goodbye when parting from them without adding an, "I Love yinz."
And let's not forget to mention his best bud, Jordan, a Jack Russell/Pug mix. Those two were inseparable. Even in his last days when the medication made him lose his memory for brief stints of time and he temporarily could not remember his own sons' names, when asked what his dog's name is he muttered, "Jordan…" Life is about making memories with loved ones, and because of the example he laid out for all who knew him, Billy Pie left us with an everlasting legacy and enough glorious memories for his beautiful spirit to last beyond our lifetimes. They simply don't make them like Bill anymore. We love you always and endlessly, Dad/ PapPap/Brother/Uncle/Friend.
Friends received FRIDAY 12-4 and 6-9 p.m. at WORRELL FUNERAL HOME INC., 820 Main St., Sharpsburg. Mass of Christian Burial Saturday 10 a.m. at All Saints Church, Etna (EVERYONE PLEASE MEET AT CHURCH). Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Zak Piekarski memorial scholarship fund c/o 1917 Woodside Rd., Glenshaw, PA 15116.