William Edward ‘Bill’ Hartzell, 81, cofounder of Wilmington Cape Fear Rose Society

William Edward ‘Bill’ Hartzell

WILMINGTON — William Edward “Bill” Hartzell, 81, passed away Saturday, March 6, 2021. He was born Aug. 15, 1939, to George W. Hartzell and Gladys M. Mercer Hartzell of Knox, Pennsylvania.

Bill enjoyed a long and full life of gardening, socializing, volunteering, traveling, hard work and generous charity. Bill proudly joined the U.S. Navy directly after graduating from Keystone High School in 1957, where he grew up in Knox, Pennsylvania.

His career of 20 years in the U.S. Navy took him to many interesting locations, fueling his love of traveling and sharing his experiences. He retired from his assignment with Naval Intelligence Command at the Pentagon as yeoman first class in 1976. He then went back home to Knox, Pennsylvania, where he started his second career with Beckwith Machinery, retiring as parts manager in 1999.

After moving to Wilmington, he began his third career Wilmington Lowe’s Garden Center, College Road, where he proudly worked and gave out gardening advice for 17 years until his recent death. Bill also cofounded the Wilmington Cape Fear Rose Society and loved meeting at the arboretum with fellow enthusiasts.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Ronald Hartzell; and sister, Marylin Smerkar.

Bill was a loving father to his daughter, Marcy Canby, of Shippenville, Pennsylvania; son, Dale Hartzell of Beverly Hills, Florida; as well as stepdaughter, Kristin Meier. Other survivors include his wife, Patricia Hartzell of Wilmington; son-in-law, Tim Canby; sister, Helen Jean Patton of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Daryl and Donna Hartzell of Fort Mill, South Carolina, Jack and Mary Kay Hartzell of O’Fallon, Missouri; grandchildren, Correy LaBonte, Zachary Bowman and Alexander Bowman; step-grandchildren, Shanna Bowman, Zachary Meier and Elizabeth Hartzell; and two great-grandchildren, Shayla Mae LaBonte and Barron D. Bowman of Florida. There are many, many friends who will also miss and lovingly remember him, since Bill could grow friends as well as he could grow plants.

A gathering to commemorate Bill will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in honor of his goodwill to any of his favorite charities: the American Heart Association, Wilmington Cape Fear Rose Society, Wounded Vets, Alzheimer’s Research Foundation or charity of choice.

Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.

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