Willard DeMestri

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Willard N. “Bill” DeMestri, 95, of Belleville, IL, born August 14, 1921, in Belleville, IL, died Thursday, August 10, 2017, at Cedarhurst of Shiloh, Shiloh, IL.

Mr. DeMestri recorded the history of Belleville as the chief photographer for the Belleville News Democrat for 62 years.  He was a member of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Belleville, IL, a member of the Belleville Swansea Moose Lodge, and a member of the T&T Golf League.  Bill was a World War II U.S. Army-Air Corps veteran.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Arlene C., nee Houba, DeMestri, whom he married on June 11, 1955, and who died on November 2, 2016; his parents, Frank and Margaret, nee Nichols, DeMestri; a brother, Henry DeMestri; and four sisters, Catherine Hill, Mary Keller, Jean Moyer, and Margaret Brestal.

Surviving are his daughter, Cindy (Jeff) Heidorn of Belleville, IL;
two grandchildren, Jeffrey W. and Jessica A. Heidorn, both of Belleville, IL;
and nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to Heartland Hospice or to St. Paul United Church of Christ.  Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.

Visitation:  Friends may visit with the family from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, August 14, 2017, and from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, August 15, 2017, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.

Funeral:  Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, August 15, 2017, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, with Rev. Linda Reynolds officiating.

Burial with military honors will be at Lake View Memorial Gardens, Fairview Heights, IL.


2 Comments on Willard DeMestri

Terry Mackin said : Guest Report Aug 14, 2017 at 6:16 PM

Bill was Mr. Belleville. A friend to all. A great story teller. He loved Arlene, Cindy, Jeff and his two grandkids so much. So proud of them! I loved his stories and memories. I'll cherish those conversations with Bill. A great man. Always made me laugh.

  • O'Fallon
  • IL
Sandy said : administrator Report Aug 12, 2017 at 7:15 PM

We are so sad to hear of Bill's passing. Bill and Arlene were very special friends of the Gaa family. We always enjoyed our fish dinners with them, when we were in town, at Southside and the Quail Club. My Husband, Jerry, also enjoyed playing golf with my Dad, Stan, and Bill, and once in awhile with the T & T League. We always enjoyed his vibrant and outgoing personality. He always spoke so highly of his family and the wonderful times he had with them. He will be missed, but we will always cherish our memories of him. Sandy Gaa Cooper

  • Independence
  • MO

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