William Bassett – also known as Bill, Billy and even Billy Boy in his youth – passed away peacefully in his home on Monday, April 5, 2021, surrounded by his family, who loved him more than anything. Bill was born on December 26, 1935, to H.T. and Bessie Bassett of Pineville, MS, where he and his loving sister Mary Ann ran around with many cousins and friends.
His is a story of a life full of love, laughter, friends, family, and Faith.
Some would describe Bill Bassett as 'larger than life' – and he certainly did love life, and life loved him right back.
He loved a good prank, and his stunts were legendary. Everyone loved Bill's distinctive, bold, joyful laugh.
Bill loved to cook and was an incredible chef. Whether searing a ribeye or lamb chops on the grill, frying bacon, sauteing halibut, or creating something perhaps more unique in his well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, gathering in the kitchen with friends and family gave him so much joy.
Bill was an avid reader, and he loved to read everything. He had an insatiable intellectual curiosity for medical journals, encyclopedias, pop culture, news stories, and more. We are quite certain he read the entire Internet – and he would graciously share articles with friends about his latest findings on just about any topic.
He loved his business and the many colleagues, associates, and friends he met as owner and president of Automatic Plating Inc. for over 35 years in Taylorsville, MS, where he was a "popular businessman" and very active in the local community. He loved Taylorsville and everyone there as this place of first-friends, family, and annual events like the famous Dove Hunt.
He loved to work in the yard, and he always had a project going. This love transpired into an eclectic collection of metals, natural stone, fountains, and other unique things.
Most of all, Bill loved the love of his life Rosemary. He cherished her as his champion, rock, lover, caretaker, and best friend. When they met, fireworks sparked, and he was instantly smitten. Within three months of meeting, they married and continued to love, respect, honor, and protect each other with wild abandon.
Bill embraced the life they built together over 47 years. He loved his family fiercely with his whole heart. His eyes would light up when he talked about his son Shawn and three daughters Mary Catherine, Carolyn, and Christina. He was proud of them. He taught them the value of hard work and accountability, determination, honesty, dignity, and respect. His actions spoke louder than words. He was their hero. Their broken hearts are outshined only by the abundant love and adoration held close in the memories of their Daddy's life well-lived.
In 2006, he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer (ATC) and told he had 2-4 weeks to live. At that time, his family adopted Matthew 17:20 as their family's mantra that Faith, even as small as a mustard seed, can move mountains. Their Faith was steadfast, and they did move mountains. Alongside a phenomenal medical team at Mayo Clinic, tremendous support from family and friends, and by the grace of God, his scans remained clear of ATC.
In the years that followed, Bill and Rosemary traveled back and forth to Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN, several times a year. Amid scans and tests, they also found a love for the local Ponte Vedra community. During this time, Bill faced several hurdles: an aortic valve replacement, a brain meningioma, melanoma, a gall bladder removal, and finally, in 2018, Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Esophagus, believed to be a result of the aggressive radiation he had many years before to beat ATC.
Despite these challenges, Bill persisted, and his Faith was unwavering. He was a long-time member of Brandon Baptist Church, where he and Rosemary cherished their Sunday School friendships, valued lessons learned, loved God, and felt at home with their church family.
As we reflect on the many blessings over the 15 years that followed his initial cancer diagnosis, we do so with a tremendous amount of gratitude, love, Faith, and optimism. And while moving forward in this world without him by our side feels painfully impossible, we will hold our mustard seeds tight and think of him constantly, knowing that through Faith, anything is possible.
Bill was predeceased by his parents, his mother-in-law Carolyn Trolio Noble, and his father-in-law Ott Berryman Noble. He is survived by his wife Rosemary; his son Shawn Gentry (Amanda) of Dallas, TX; daughters Mary Catherine Petermann (Steve) of Atlanta, GA; Carolyn Boyd (Daniel) of Morton, MS; and Christina Morgan (Adam) of Nashville, TN.
He was the proud grandfather to 11 incredible kids: Porter and Skylar Gentry; Cate Petermann; Will Danis; Lillian Spohn; Caitlyn, Payton and Nathan Boyd; and Alder, Rowan and Forrest Morgan.
He is survived also by his extended family who he loved so much: his sister and pillar of strength Mary Ann Wardell (Lavoy); his nieces Gina Wardell Anderson (Tommy) and Maresa Wardell McKinley (Ted); his nephew James Wardell; and his 12 nieces/great-nieces and nephews/great-nephews.
On Thursday, April 8, a visitation will be held at 11am at Ott & Lee in Brandon, followed by a graveside celebration of life at 12:30pm at Crestview Memorial Gardens.
Matthew 17:20 NIV --- "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Dowery Bassett, please visit our floral store.