William (Bill) Derward Luter, Jr. was born November 15, 1944 as only son and middle child of William D. Luter, Sr and Lela (DeLesline) Luter in Charleston, South Carolina.. While he was still very young, the family moved to Philadelphia, PA and he became a lifelong Philadelphian. He attended Catholic schools, graduating from Cardinal Dougherty High School. After high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force and served 4 years. Along the way, he met and married the love of his life, Toni, with whom he shared his life for over 40 years until her passing in 2012. Together they raised 2 beautiful daughters who grew into wonderful strong women while he was able to watch and revel in their various successes. He especially enjoyed spending time with his 2 grandchildren.
Family was his most important passion. His father died at a relatively young age and Bill stepped in many times to serve as patriarch of the larger family. He can be remembered carving the holiday turkey, (or squirreling away the cherry cheese pie his niece had made), driving everyone including his mother to her first DeLesline family reunion. To be sure he could provide substantially for his family, after the Air Force, he went to work for the phone company starting out climbing telephone poles. He stayed and climbed the career ladder retiring after 30 years as a design engineer. After retiring, he always enjoyed driving so he spent a few years doing regional trucking, and mid size van tour services.
Food was another of his passions. Making visits to his mother’s house was never hard to do – she made her special okra soup for him and kept it in the freezer for him to take. He was always excited when the larger family decided to get together – whether for a celebration or ‘just because’ – and found great restaurants with good food.
His church, St Patrick’s, became an important part of his later years and he relished his time in the choir. He also loved his Eagles, talking politics and we all will have an everlasting memory of him with his quintessential bottle of Michelob in one hand. He enjoyed long scenic drives, especially through the mountains. He was a traditionalist, and successfully held out against cell phones – only getting his first one when it came already installed in his new car.
Bill is survived by his 2 daughters, Melissa Luter-Smullen and Dana Luter; 2 grandchildren, Kaylyn Hildreth and Marcus Gowans; 2 sisters Ethel Upchurch and Marguerete Luter, niece and nephew Tracie Upchurch and Glenn Upchurch, grand-nephew and grand-niece Jonathan Upchurch and Jasmine Upchurch and great grand-niece Aurora Upchurch, and cousins and lifelong friends.
He left this life on June 1, 2023. We all loved him dearly and will miss him tremendously. His faith and belief in God reassure us that he rests in as good a place as he tried to make for everyone here on earth.
A Viewing will be held on Thursday June 8, 2023 from 9-10AM at St. Patrick's Church 714 DeKalb St. Norristown, PA 19401. Funeral Mass will follow at 10AM. Entombment St. Patrick's Cemetery.
Flowers are welcome, as are memorial contributions to the American Heart Association.