William Eugene Ryerson
William Eugene Ryerson
  • March 3, 1946 - July 5, 2017
  • Conway, Arkansas

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William “Bill” Eugene Ryerson, Sr., 71, of Conway, died peacefully at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, AR on July 5, 2017 surrounded by family after a short battle with cancer. He was born March 3, 1946 in Seattle, Washington, and was the son of Louise Pelham Ryerson of Brick, N.J. and the late John Ryerson. Bill was also preceded in death by his infant daughter, Susan Ryerson; a brother, Roy Ryerson; a grandson, Harley Fox; and his first wife of 42 years, Gloria (Hutsell) Ryerson, and Gloria’s parents, Richard and Roeli Hutsell.

Bill enlisted in the Army in 1966 and served with the 11th Armored Cavalry Black Horse Division where he was responsible for enemy reconnaissance. His unit played an integral part in the Tet Offensive of 1968. By the time of his honorable discharge in 1971, after serving two tours in Vietnam, he had earned the rank of staff sergeant. He made many lifelong friends while in the military and kept up with them over the years, attending military reunions when he could. Bill never met a stranger. Whenever he found other Vietnam Veterans, he would recount his years in the service and all the memories and men lost during his time there. He was fiercely patriotic - something he instilled in his children and grandchildren.

Bill was employed by Virco Manufacturing for over 20 years, and worked in both Philadelphia, PA and Conway, AR locations. Later, he worked for Township Builders until his retirement in 2009.

Bill loved the outdoors, fishing, and camping with his family, especially summer trips to the Little Red River in Heber Springs to go trout fishing. When at home, he enjoyed tinkering outdoors and maintaining his yard and swimming pool, a place which many family memories were made.

Bill is survived by his second wife, Barbara (Fox) Ryerson; a brother, Jack Ryerson of Pelham, NC; a sister, Sue Piscatello of Mendham, NJ; a sister, Louise Buskey of Sebring, FL; a brother, George Ryerson of Brick, NJ; a sister, Carol Talyczak of Myrtle Beach, SC; and a brother, Jimmy Ryerson of Panama City Beach, FL. He is also survived by a daughter, Roelie Ryerson (Chuck Schoolfield) of Conway, AR; a son, William “Billy” Eugene Ryerson, Jr. (Christina Ryerson) of Pensacola, FL; a daughter, Sandra “Sandy” Nilz (Dr. John Nilz) of Conway, AR; a son, Richard “Richie” Ryerson (Melissa Cormier) of Conway, AR; and a son, Jason Fox of Rhinelander, WI. He is also survived by many grandchildren: Garrett Hensley of Allen, TX; Zoie Ryerson of Pensacola, FL; Jacob and Josh Nilz of North Little Rock, AR; Stacy Fox of Cabot, AR; and Geoffrey Hensley, Bradley Wickliffe, Chloe Nilz, Raeli Ryerson, all of Conway, AR. Bill also leaves behind many nieces and nephews.

A private memorial is to be held in his honor at the North Little Rock Veteran’s Cemetery for family and close friends. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: Disabled American Veterans, online at https://www.dav.org or by mail to: DAV P.O. Box 14301 Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301 or by phone at 1-877-647-VETS (8387).