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Remembering Bill Wiley
“Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share the keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge to the future.” ~Mattie Stepanek
It is pretty obvious I am a very sentimental person. I see life as a series of events that shape who we are and how we respond to the world around us. Someone once asked me in a job interview, “How do you see yourself?” It was a good question and one I had thought about before.
I told her that “I see myself as thousands of puzzle pieces glued together by people who have influenced my life in both a positive and negative way. My interests, my personality, hopes, dreams, morals; all of which stem from those moments in my life that someone said or did something that shaped my view of the world around me.”
I have always been very aware of connections that tie us all together. Sometimes they are recognized immediately, but most of them go unnoticed until much later. It is with great pleasure that I share this story with all of you.
When I started BGW Memories, people were frequently asking if I had any photos of the Brewery Tour. After searching for months, not one single picture surfaced. Then when I least expected it, I got a message from William “Bill” Wiley. He mentioned was that he once worked at the Anheuser Busch Hospitality Center. With that little note, he attached three photos. One was of the elusive Hospitality Center; another was the Eagle One monorail. My favorite was the picture of him proudly standing in front of a recruitment table.
I was electrified with joy! Not only did this serve to spark my own memories but I knew that it would be appreciated by hundreds of other BGW enthusiasts.
In January, I received an email for Bill’s daughter Nancy. She explained that her father had passed away and wanted me to know how much he loved BGW Memories. I started crying as soon as I read those words. I felt such a loss.
Chances are, I personally met Bill at some point. My mind began wrapping around the connection. I never knew that the man behind the smile at the Hospitality Center would later send me such a treasure trove of history. Even though I cannot recall the sound of Bill’s voice or conversations at the park we may have shared, knowing we both had the chance to reconnect is a miracle.
We go through our lives never knowing all the ways we affect others. Bill Wiley taught me that what we do, no matter how small, matters. In turn, I will never see the photos of the Brewery Tour again without thinking about Bill and his enthusiasm and kindness.
Thank you for sharing your memories with us Bill. Also to Nancy: Thank you for telling me how much your father enjoyed reading BGW Memories and how proud he was to be a part of Busch Gardens history. We will forever be connected and for that, I am sincerely grateful.
Please honor Bill by reading about his life. William “Bill” Wiley’s Obituary is found here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/DailyPress/obituary.aspx?n=William-Roy-Wiley&pid=168882269
“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”
― John Steinbeck
For those wanting to know more about the Brewery Tour: a regular contributor to BGW Memories, Christopher Shwartz sent me links to the entire Brewery Tour captured on film. The You Tube videos were posted by “SCIONIZER.” Thanks to you both for this precious documentation of park history!