BECKET – William (Bill) Francis Cavanaugh, 79, of Becket, died peacefully Tuesday, February 21, 2023, at Baystate Medical Center while surrounded by his family and friends.
Born in Westfield on February 23, 1943, the son of John Joseph and Adrianna L. Cavanaugh, Bill was raised and educated in the Westfield area, he went on to graduate from Westfield Trade High School, and ultimately earned a Master’s Degree in Administrative Management from Cambridge College.
Bill worked in a variety of professional positions over his career but made sure that all of his roles shared one common end goal; helping others. He spent time as the Director of Human Resources at Berkshire Community College, and an Executive Director at the AdLib Independent Living Center. Eventually settling down with his family in the Town of Becket, Bill was extremely fond of the home he built on Carter Road and proudly self-titled the property “Shadowbrook Farm.” Bill soon developed an immense passion for the Town of Becket and labored in love for his fellow residents. He spent 20+ years serving on the Town’s Board of Selectman, and for the last 20+ years served on the Town’s Cemetery Commission, which included overseeing the care and management of the North Becket Cemetery. He treated every family he came in contact with through his work as if they were his own.
Bill took pride in being an everyman’s man. He was known to say quips such as, “I’d talk to a ditch digger and the President the same way.” If you knew Bill, you knew he meant that he’d treat both with the utmost respect, and that he was not influenced by authority. He believed in action over words, and some of his proudest work was done through activism in the 90’s campaigning for the disabled. When outside of work, Bill kept busy mostly with hobbies centered around sports. He was a great basketball player in his early years, loved golfing with his son Patrick, and won many horseshoe and candlepin bowling leagues around the Berkshires area.
Above all of his professional and social justice accomplishments, Bill’s family, specifically his children and grandchildren, were his most cherished treasure. Despite being absolutely heartbroken by the loss of his daughter Amy to a car accident in 2013, he never wavered from his goal of keeping her four children and the Cavanaugh family connected. He provided a strong sense of stability and love that kept his family unified, and the memories of his efforts will live on and continue to guide us.
Mr. Cavanaugh is survived by his former wife, Mary Jegelewicz Cavanaugh of Turners Falls; his son, Patrick T. Cavanaugh of Turners Falls; four grandchildren, James (Jimmy) Cavanaugh of Pittsfield; Casey A. Cavanaugh of Haverhill, Trynity R. Strickland of Somerville, and Zaida M. Strickland of Brattleboro, VT; a great-grandson, Benjamin Cavanaugh of Pittsfield; and sisters, Virginia (Jeanne) Jablonski and Agnes Bulifant, both of Westfield; his closest friends, Gene and Mark Pike, both of Becket, and many other beloved cousins, nieces, nephews, family and friends.
He was predeceased by his daughter, Amy Cavanaugh, his son Sean Cavanaugh, and his grandson, Aahlee Strickland; his four brothers, James, Francis, Joseph, and John Cavanaugh and his sister, Christina “Tina” Michonski.
FUNERAL NOTICE: A memorial service for William F. Cavanaugh will be held Sunday, March 19, 2023, at 3:00 P.M., at DERY FUNERAL HOME in PITTSFIELD with Rev. Peter A. Gregory officiating.
Calling hours will precede the service beginning at 1:00 P.M. Burial will be in Mr. Cavanaugh’s beloved North Becket Cemetery in the Spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Mr. Cavanaugh may be made to AdLib Center for Independent Living in care of Dery Funeral Home, 54 Bradford Street, Pittsfield.