William David Eakin, of Jerome, died September 17, 2023. Bill was born in Jerome on April 28, 1939, the youngest of four children. He grew up on the family ranch and graduated from Jerome High School in 1957. Bill received degrees in physics and engineering from the College of Idaho, where he also worked as a DJ with the radio station. He later earned graduate degrees in those same subjects.
Bill had a passion for airplanes from a young age, and his nieces and nephews remember all of the model airplanes that he made and flew for them. He worked at Boeing, before joining the Air Force for 8 years, during which Bill worked with Special Forces throughout Southeast Asia and as a flight instructor on the T37 aircraft during the Vietnam War. Following the war, Bill’s passion for airplanes and flying continued as he was a pilot for Delta Air Lines for 25 years, retiring in 1999 as an international captain.
Bill loved working with his hands and made everything from custom surgical instruments for renowned cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey, to designing custom staircases and cabinets while in Houston. Another hobby was trap and skeet shooting; he would travel all over the US to enter shooting competitions. Eventually, Bill returned to Jerome full-time to work the land on the family ranch, Eakin Land & Livestock.
Bill was a member of the Masonic Order for 63 years and also of Shriners. He was a frequent presence at the Jerome Cemetery, where he could be found planting trees or placing in the ground crosses that he hand made for Memorial Day, with wreathes on them at Christmas-time. He could also be found at Calvary Episcopal Church on Sunday mornings or tending to the lawn and buildings there during the week. For many years, Bill spearheaded once-a-month Saturday morning pancake breakfasts in the Calvary Parish Hall for the community. He also played with several music groups through the years, providing entertainment for many senior center or community events.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Doris (Fountain) Eakin; two brothers, a sister, a niece and a nephew. He is survived by a sister-in-law, Grace Eakin; and by several nieces and nephews including Dr. Ralph Zech II, Dr. Jean Zech-Manhart, Joan-Marie Gerth, Thomas Zech, Charles Zech, Katherine Zech Kioshi, Mike Eakin, Pam Eakin Pierce, Deb Eakin Hepworth, Nancy Eakin Overturf, Cathy Eakin Venosdel, Dan Eakin, and Patrick Eakin, their spouses and their children, and by many good friends, who will miss his periodic visits and his generosity.
A funeral service with Masonic Rites and a Military Honors will be held at 11:00 am, Friday, September 29, 2023, at Mountain View Barn, 392 E 300 S, Jerome, with a luncheon to follow.
If you would like to honor Bill, the family suggests memorial contributions to Calvary Episcopal Church, 201 S Adams St, Jerome, Idaho 83338.
Memories and condolences may be shared with family and friends on Bill’s memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com.