William Joseph Toohey, technician, inventor, musician, man of varied and wide ranging interests died at Massachusetts General Hospital on Feb. 11th of a sudden illness. Bill was born August 1, 1941 to Mary Elizabeth Parker and William Joseph Toohey Sr. and grew up in Maynard, Massachusetts.
He served in the U S Air Force from 1960 to 1964 and was stationed in Japan and Viet Nam. In civilian life, Bill had a long career working as a technician in the machine tool industry and in electronics. His name appears on several patents for electronic circuitry to control electronic cameras and arc welding apparatus. He also co-authored a publication in physics describing an improved method of measuring gravity waves.
In 1980 he married Andrea Petitto and moved to San Diego, California where he worked for Jet Line and then Hewlett Packard. In 1982 he and his wife moved to Rochester NY where he got a job at Kodak in their electronic imaging department. He would remain there until he retired in 2006. In 2008 Bill and Andrea moved to East Harwich on Cape Cod. Bill became a docent at the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center and built their website. He was still working at the Marconi Center when he died.
Bill was an inveterate and creative tinkerer, able to apply his skills to his wide range of interests. He built a house in upstate New York. In his 60’s he learned to play tennis and studied piano, becoming an accomplished pianist. He learned to make wine and produced his own personal label as a hobby.
Bill was intellectually curious, personable, and engaging. He was described by an old friend as “someone who could talk to common folk and kings.”
He leaves his wife, Andrea, a painter in East Harwich, Massachusetts, their niece Jocelyn Petitto, and a wide circle of friends on the Cape and in the Boston area.
On Cape Cod a memorial celebration of life for Bill will be held April 13, 3 - 6 pm at the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, 831 Orleans Road, N. Chatham MA. Light refreshments will be served.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, PO Box 421, North Chatham MA 02650 or on line at www.chathammarconi.org.
In the Boston area, a memorial celebration of life for Bill will be held in Natick on Saturday April 6, 3-5 pm. Please contact Bill’s family for details.