William (Bill) Leo Pea, 76

William (Bill) Leo Pea, 76, passed away peacefully with his wife by his side in his home in Knoxville, Tennessee on April 4, 2024.

Cherishing Bill's memory are his wife Debbie (Nix) Pea and two daughters, Jackie King (John) and Beth Bickle. Also surviving are three brothers:  Dick (Patty), Dexter (Marilyn) and John; sister-in-law Rhea Pea; eight grandchildren: Jordan King, Jeremey King (Madelyn), Jason King, Renae Bickle, Jaimee King, Bradly Bickle, Jennifer King and Janna King; as well as brother-in-law Dave Nix, sisters-in-law Deanna (David) Easterday and Donna Cummings; nieces and nephews; great nieces and nephews; cousins; and many friends who love him dearly.

Preceding Bill in death are his parents Arnold and Betty Pea, a brother Dan Pea, brother-in-law Danny Nix, and Bill’s first wife Sharon Downey.

On April 13, 1947, Bill was born in Vincennes, Indiana. He grew up in southern Indiana where he worked as a young boy on his uncle’s melon farm and on a pig farm. He actually loved that pig farm job and had fun stories to tell about it! After high school he went to Indiana Vocational Technical School in Indianapolis and learned skills which led him to jobs in drafting and designing in various manufacturing companies. 

Bill was proud of his career because he was able to achieve more than he ever dreamed a man with no formal college degree could achieve. He was curious, observant, intelligent and it served him well. He worked for McCord Corporation in Plymouth, Indiana for 17 years as a draftsman first and later as a designer of radiators. Later, in Grenada, Mississippi, Bill worked as an inside sales engineer for Heatcraft Corporation for 3 years and then transferred to Minnesota as an outside sales engineer/manufacturer’s representative for Heatcraft, a company which later became known as Luvata. He was successful in his work and was able to enjoy some wonderful traveling adventures with Debbie and friends and family. He retired from working in 2011 and he and Debbie finally figured out they needed to move to a warmer climate (to Knoxville) in 2015.

Bill and Debbie were married in Oahu, Hawaii in 1985. Over their 39 years together, they embraced the geographical moves, the career changes, and the life changes with optimism. They were a good team. If one of them thought they needed a new sofa or a new car, the other one would consider it for a minute (or maybe more) and then be “all in”! But material possessions aside, they were also on the same page with the important stuff.

Early in their marriage Bill developed culinary skills and enjoyed cooking gourmet meals.  He jokingly claimed that he learned to cook out of “self-preservation” since Debbie didn’t always get dinner ready in a timely manner.  The family still enjoys cooking his signature Jambalaya, Chicken Piccata and Beef Chili recipes, among others. He loved watching cooking shows, live horse racing and You Tube music videos, and he really loved playing guitar, although he always humbly said that he was not very good at it. He and his brother Dan enjoyed playing guitar together when they were in their 30s and 40s. He and brother-in-law Dave have also shared special guitar playing moments over the years. Some of Bill’s grandchildren have inherited his passion for music and Bill was so happy about that.

Bill had a great sense of humor, although sometimes you really had to be paying attention to appreciate it. He was confident, yet humble. He was generous, gentle, and not judgmental or critical. He was a good listener. He was patient, accepting, and brave. He loved his family, his music and his “happy hours”. And he had a quiet faith in God which, no doubt, transported him to his new home.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Bill’s birthday, April 13, 2024, at Good Family Funeral Home, 1200 West 18th Street, Rochester, Indiana.

The family will receive visitors from 11:30-1:00 and the service will begin at 1:00. 

A private family burial will follow at the Poplar Grove - Lake Maxinkuckee IOOF Cemetery.

Another celebration will be held at Debbie’s church, Concord United Methodist in Knoxville, at a later date.