Beloved husband of the late Nancy Maier of 66 years. Loving father of Willard “Bill” Maier, Brian Maier, Bruce (Cheryl) Maier and the late Dan Maier. Cherished grandfather of Willard III, Emrys (Michiyo), Brian Jr., Blake and Brittany (Andrew) Kidd; great-grandfather of Luke, Khloe, Mila and Ingram. Since the age of 16, he has played the saxophone and clarinet. His true love was music and he played until a couple weeks ago. He served in the Marine Corp during WWII and was a proud Veteran. Willard passed away peacefully on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at the age of 93 years. Visitation will be held on Monday, November 11, 2019 from 11am until the time of the Funeral Service at 1pm at Paul R. Young Funeral Home, 7345 Hamilton Ave., Mt. Healthy, Ohio 45231. Interment to follow at Oak Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of SW Ohio, 7625 Camargo Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45243.
A Tribute to Willard Maier
I believe my father was the greatest man I ever met. When most people talk about someone being great, they usually mean that person is politically important, or famous in some way, or well known for his accomplishments, or extremely wealthy. I really don’t care about power or fame or wealth. I’ve seen plenty of people with those things who have no class at all. What I do care about is character. Does a man always try to do the right thing, no matter what? How does he treat his family, his friends, his country? Can you count on him when the going gets rough?
When it comes to character, my father was the most amazing man I’ve ever known. He always thought of himself as ordinary, but he was far more than that. He taught me a tremendous amount about life. Some of what I learned were things he told me, like to look both ways before I cross a street. But by far, most of what I learned from him he taught me by example, by the way he conducted his own life. I have never known any other human being more selfless than he was. In whatever situation he found himself, he always took others into consideration and always tried to do the right thing, not just for himself but for the people around him as well.
Of course, being his son I am undoubtedly prejudiced in my feelings for him, but I can also tell you that everywhere I went, I would often have people come up to me and tell me what an incredible man they thought he was. It was always gratifying to hear that others had noticed the same wonderful qualities in him that I saw. He was loved by many, and that alone would qualify him to be called great. A few of these people even told me that he had been very important in their life. One of my classmates told me that back in high school when he was at a low point and had lost confidence in himself, my father had convinced him of his value and restored his belief in himself. That classmate told me that story years later, and said that my father was one of the influential people in his life.
In my eyes, he was everything a man should be. He could be tough when he needed to be, when evil or selfish people were out to hurt him or others. He could also be tough when people needed to face up to what they needed to do. When I was growing up, if I did wrong he would let me know that in no uncertain terms, and he would expect me to make things right. I know now that he made me a better person. And I always knew that he loved me and would stand by me no matter what I had gotten myself into. Beneath the occasional toughness was a compassionate and loving man. He was someone you wanted on your side when the chips were down, and he always was for me.
Over the years, whenever he would do something I didn’t understand, I learned that was a clue for me to pay attention, because I would always learn something by watching him. When I thought someone was taking advantage of him and told him so, he just kept on with what he was doing, and eventually I learned a valuable lesson in loyalty – loyalty to family, loyalty to friends, loyalty to country. When I struggled with life, I always knew I could go to him for advice and he would steer me in the right direction. Wisdom came naturally to him.
His love for my mother and their marriage of more than 66 years speaks volumes about him. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. They had their difficulties over the years as all couples do, but they always knew that splitting up was not an option, that they would find a way through it together. When he finally had to put her in a nursing home because he just couldn’t take care of her any more, he went and visited her nearly every day. When she died a few years later, watching him say goodbye to her at the casket was the saddest and most poignant scene I’ve ever witnessed.
He was a man of honor, integrity, and love. He was a giant of a man, the one person in this entire world that I would most want to be like. I will continue to try to live up to his example. It was truly an honor to have known him, and a great privilege to have been his son.
Bill Maier (Willard’s oldest son)
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