A photo of William Jerome “Bill” Katorkas

William Jerome “Bill” Katorkas

February 23, 1954 - January 6, 2022

“To me!” he would toast, raising a glass in his own honor.

“To you, Bill,” was the inevitable reply.

“To me!” he would reiterate. “To me.”

 

And so it was that William Jerome Katorkas – “Bill” to all who knew him – would hold court at any social gathering or celebration, of which there were many and much to celebrate throughout his resilient life of 67 years.

 

Bill passed away Jan. 6, 2022, after a brief illness.

 

A longtime resident of Newark, DE, Bill was born in Scranton, PA  in 1954, graduated from the University of Scranton in 1980 and was a devoted family man, public servant, man of faith, understated prankster and life of the party every day thereafter.

 

Bill adored Ann (née Williams), his wife of 41 years, and the beautiful family they built together in Delaware after meeting and marrying in Scranton. He was a proud and loving father to daughter Samantha and twin sons Adam and Alex.

 

Always their biggest supporter, Bill was there to coach or cheer on his children in all of their many activities – sports competitions, dance recitals, gymnastics events, concerts and theater shows.

 

Bill was always up to something. He would stay up late at night putting together elaborate LEGO structures and train layouts to surprise his boys in the morning. He could also be counted on to play tag with his kids inside the grocery store – not just playing, but starting the game, and he was there to rage with his teen sons at heavy metal concerts.

 

Later, he became a proud “Pap-Pap” to grandsons Elias, Wyatt and Levi, (sons of Samantha and her husband Cristian Quesada). He beamed as he spoke of them, and enjoyed every moment he spent with them.

 

Bill’s devotion to family knew no bounds, as he welcomed in, deeply loved and fiercely protected extended family – siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews and anyone else in need of a roof, a meal, a mentor or a friend.

 

Bill dedicated his life to serving others. He served his country as a veteran of the U.S. Army, and served his community as a career law enforcement officer, retiring as Captain of the University of Delaware Police after a distinguished 29-year career that began as a patrol cop. He was particularly proud of his efforts to carve out a stronger, more sustainable relationship between the police department and minority student populations on campus.

 

Bill was honored to attend the FBI National Academy in 1999 where he graduated with both the newly found skills in hostage negotiations, and a broken elbow suffered while playing goalie on the soccer team there.

 

He volunteered often, including annually with the Delaware Special Olympics, which was near to his heart.

 

Throughout his life, Bill was a man of faith.  He and Ann attended Sunday Mass each week. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, and a proud and active member of the church choir.

 

In 2004, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia that had progressed rapidly before it was caught. He was truly on death’s doorstep at that time, unconscious and seemingly slipping away. A woman known as a Spiritual Daughter of St. Padre Pio came to pray over him. That night, with no medical explanation, he woke up and asked for food. It was a miracle. With continued prayer, positivity and the relentless support of Ann, he made a full recovery and was blessed with 18 more years of life.

 

He vowed to value every day of that extra time, and was committed to performing an act of kindness each day. In that time, he was blessed to see all of his children graduate high school, walk Samantha down the aisle at her wedding, share a beer with his sons on their 21st birthday, travel the country and be a Pap-Pap to his grandsons.

 

“I’m just happy to be here,” he would reply whenever anyone asked him how he was doing. And he meant it.

 

Fittingly, everyone he knew or met was happy he was here, too, as he made everything more fun.  He never met a waiter or waitress he wouldn’t chat up, nor attended a gathering where he wouldn’t hold court.

 

Bill was a good time. He was likable. Funny. Charismatic. A kind spirit with a calm demeanor. He was a people watcher and top-tier conversationalist.  Bill was always talking with people and learning their stories.

 

He was so notoriously chatty that his family developed a running joke: No one wanted to go on after-dinner neighborhood walks with Bill because he wouldn’t make it past the first driveway on the street before he was talking to neighbors, and the family never actually got to walk anywhere. In fact, they are unsure if he has even made it into heaven yet, as he is likely still at the gates chatting up St. Peter.

 

That chattiness did pay off when — while on duty, he was responding to an incident on campus– Bill struck up a conversation with a witness who happened to be a pro wrestler. That led to a fitting side gig for Bill as the official ring announcer of the East Coast Wrestling Association, where he was known to fans throughout the region as “Billy K,” and was inducted into that association’s Hall of Fame in 1994. Attending those wrestling shows was a childhood highlight for his kids – prime seating to see Dad in a tuxedo under the spotlight with a microphone in hand, and sometimes getting caught up in the action himself. (“Holy Jeez!”)

 

Bill was an avid collector of pharmaceutical pens, cigar boxes, and (much to the chagrin of his family) creepy porcelain clown dolls. He loved wearing driving caps, drinking black coffee and sipping Sambuca. Sometimes all three at the same time. He was a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, NASCAR, soccer, golf, and of course, he always kept his standing lunch dates with “The Young and the Restless,” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

 

The world lost a great man on January 6.  And so, for his family and many friends here to celebrate him, and for those with whom he has surely reunited in heaven, we all raise a glass.

 

To you, Bill. … To you.

 

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 12 noon until 1 pm on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at St. Margaret of Scotland R.C. Church, 2431 Frazer Road, Newark, DE 19702, where a Funeral Mass will be held at 1 pm. Face coverings will be required for all those in attendance, regardless of vaccination status. Interment will be held privately in Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

 

Any family members or friends who are unable to attend the services for Bill can live stream the service by clicking here.

 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Bill’s memory to St. Margaret of Scotland’s St. Vincent de Paul Food Closet, also located at 2431 Frazer Road, Newark, DE 19702.

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26 Condolences for William Jerome “Bill” Katorkas

  • He was such a kind, friendly man. Very sorry for his family’s loss. Sleep well sir……

  • Saddened to read of Bill’s passing but grateful for his life of service

  • Beautifully captured a life well lived and a person well loved and who loved well. Our best and a big hug to Ann and family. Love Dawn and John

  • Dear Ann, I am so very sorry for your loss.He was a wonderful man,and will be greatly missed by many.My best memory of him is us dancing at Danny’s Wedding,he was so much fun,and made me feel special.And I enjoyed visiting with you after the wedding.
    I will not be coming ,hope you understand.Blessings to you and your family. Love Shirley

  • Ann and family,

    Marty and I are so very sorry to hear about the passing of Kork. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Love,
    Marty and Kay

  • Our deepest condolences to Bill’s family. We are old friends from his hometown of Greenridge Scranton Pa. He was a friend to the entire Brunetti’s Pizza Family. Ann, Mike, & Aunt Mary knew Bill and his entire family. He was a wonderful, and kind guy.

  • Oh Ann, I’m so very sorry to hear about Bill. It’s been so long since we hung around at the Art Print in our teenage years. We had so much for fun! You and your family are in my prayers…God bless you all my old friend.

  • Ann and family, I am very sorry to read Bill’s obituary in this morning’s paper. What a truly wonderful man – so kind and so funny. We were so fortunate to meet him through our daughters’ gymnastics experiences. You are in our prayers.
    Love, Meg and Gary

  • Bill and I (Pudge) and Doug Goodall, we were childhood friends, Bill’s family lived two house away from me on Dean st. I often thought of Bill over the years and wondered what had become of him. What a wonderful life and family he had, he was truly blessed. I missed him when he left Scranton, and now I miss him even more. He and Doug are talking it up in heaven.

  • Sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. I knew Bill from “the plot”, in Scranton, PA. He was always laughing and smiling. He will be missed by all who knew him, I am sure.

  • I am sorry for your family’s loss. Bill was a good friend with my late brother Robert “Bud” Mcniff and spent a lot of time at our house in the plot section of green ridge in Scranton with my brother, the O’connors and Bill Johnson. I am sure he is now having a great reunion with my brother and Bill Johnson.

  • Ann and Family
    I loved being apart of Bill’s life. He was a special man who served his family and community. My favorite memories were our times in the Men’s Group sharing time and serving others. Loved our camping trips and lots of laughter. Yes, Ann, I was blessed to catch up with Bill in December. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Love Tom

  • Ann, I am so very sorry for your loss. Bill was such a great person to spent time with and he will be sorely missed. Another wonderful man gone way to early! Thoughts and prayers to you and your Family. God Bless

  • Ann, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to you and your children. I want to thank you for being my great assessment care giver. When you called me, I knew immediately Bill needed our help. I so enjoyed his visits (well checkups) because his humor was expected, of course, I had a pen to add to his collection. May he rest in peace. Hugs to you ,Sandy

  • Kathy and I would like to send our deepest condolences to Ann and family. May the good Lord watch over all that loved and cherished Bill. I’m sure he is with the lord now. Great person and great man. God Bless.

  • Our family will not be the same with him. No word can describe how Uncle bills presence will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the Katorkas’, near and far. I know he is Looking down on us with Tommy, Linda, and Dad.

  • Rest in Paradise Bill and we”ll meet up in Heaven’s Art Print

  • Ann & family,
    I am so sorry for your loss… As you are aware, Bill played soccer for me at The University of Scranton in the late 70’s. As a reserve goalkeeper he didn’t get a lot of playing time but was one of the most devoted players to the sport of soccer that I coached in my 22 of coaching soccer at Scranton. He was on the team when he was in his mid 20’s so was our senior citizen!!!… Always set a tremendous example for his teammates with his worth ethic and love for the game….and was truly a blessing to have on the team… great sense of humor and loved by his teammates!!!!

  • Sam, I’m sorry for your loss. This is very tragic and I can only imagine how you’re feeling right now. Your dad was on my Knights of Columbus council. He was a good man, and he will certainly be missed. God bless you, and God bless your father in heaven.

  • May God bless Bill and family. I always enjoyed spending some time with Bill at the U of D parking lot with our fellow Knights.

  • Dear Ann,
    It was with much sadness that I learned of Bill’s death. His was truly a life well lived, and I know that you and your family are bearing a great loss with his passing. Please know that I am thinking of you and praying for you. I hope that you can find some comfort in your many special memories and in the thoughts of the happy years you shared with Bill.
    With my deepest sympathies and fondest regards,
    Kathy Cross

  • Ann, Samantha, Adam & Alex.
    Sorry to hear of Bill’s passing and wanted to express my condolences. Billy K as he was known to pro wrestlers and wrestling fans throughout our area was a beloved part of our shows from the mid 1980’s through the late 1990’s. His Hall of Fame voice would ring out in Parish Halls, Boys & Girls Clubs, School Gyms and everywhere our local pro wrestling group appeared in Delaware. His voice is now silent, but I can assure you his memory will continue to ring out in our hearts and minds forever. RIP my friend. from Jim K and the pro wrestling community.

  • He will be greatly missed. His smile and sense of humor were infectious and his kindness will be forever remembered.

  • Ann,it seems we go back to the beginning of time! From our school days to seeing u date Bill/get married & have a family-all of us sharing the same events of life that gave us joy & heartache. Bill as wonderful as he was would be the first to admit you’re the cornerstone of the family & helped make him an even better man! One thing I thank him for is that he had his “guy” weekends at the cabin in Jim Thorpe (ohh the fab memories we all share there!) That idea got us thinking ” why not the gals weekend!?” We’re going on 22 yrs doing that & it all started w Bill. What a lovely life we’ve all shared & will continue to in different ways. Love to your kiddos & family-XXXOOO. Deb & Greg

  • Joe Kaminski
    Dear Ann, we were deeply saddened about Bills passing, it was truly a Blessing when Lisa and I ran into you and Bill recently. Bill had his own special way relating to whatever it might be, the Men’s Group, camping or party’s and always made people feel happy and loved, he will be greatly missed. You and family are in our prayers,
    Love,
    Joe and Lisa

  • Ann, I’m just remembering when you and Bill came to visit us in St. George, Utah.
    We had a great time at the market square at Tuachan theater and eating at the Cliffside restaurant overlooking
    the city of St. George. But it wasn’t just the sights we saw, it was that one hike at Zion that I remember most.
    As we hiked, Bill stops, cups his mouth with his hands and lets out a loud wolf call. And the sweetest thing happened,
    he got a reply. It was from a young girl in the distance and she let out a wolf call. They kept it up a few more times to the smiles of people passing by. It was just that small connection he made that spoke volumes of that man.
    Love you and the memories,
    Diane and George