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William J. Gays Jr. - 89

3/7/1930 - 6/15/2019


William J. Gays Jr. Age 89. Smith Crossings Orland Park resident formerly of Glenwood and Chicago’s Roseland Neighborhood. Graduate of Bennet Grammar School and Chicago Vocational School (“CVS”). U.S. Army Veteran Korean War. Worked as a machinist at the Calumet Shop of the Pullman Car Company retiring in 1960. Proprietor of a technology repair shop after he retired from the Pullman Shops.  Son of the late Mary Viola nee Pastore and William J. Gays Sr. Cousin of Joan Cackler, Margaret Anderson, Jamie Bennetts, Todd Cackler, Scott Anderson, Juliet Anderson, Derek Cackler and Karen Maguy. Dearest companion and friend of Dolores James whom Bill enjoyed their time together traveling the world. Avid fisherman and enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. Bill was the best friend to all.  Resting at Panozzo Bros. Funeral Home, 530 W 14th St (US Rt 30, 3 blks E of Western Ave), Chicago Heights on Saturday June 22, 2019 from 9:00 am until time of funeral services 11:00 am. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Worth.  In lieu of flowers, memorials in Bill’s name to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's disease would be appreciated by his family.  For further service information contact 708-481-9230 or


  • Derek Cackler

    on 06/18/19


    I have so many fond memories of Billy.  As a young child when he visited California in 1976, I was glued to to his side, he was hip and cool, and was a blast to hang with.  He left an impression on me and saw him from time to time thereafter.  In 1990 it was one my first vacations as a young adult, and I spent 2 weeks with him at his home, and we did non-stop fun stuff all around Chicago from Cubs games, White Sox games (Comiskey Park's last year), and even took a trek out to Iowa to go and visit the Field of Dreams.  We went to every museum in Downtown Chicago, and went to several car museum locations in Volo to check  out antique cars.  He even talked me out the tree when I wanted to buy a 1930 Model A on one of the lots, telling me "You know you're gonna have to drive that thing back."  Regretfully, I did not buy it.  I came back a year later to actually buy one, but none were to be had. We went back several times after that, and the car offering were never quite the same as the first time we explored.

    Billy was an extraordinary man, his heart was so big and such joy to hang out with.  He was so full of energy and ready to explore the next fun thing to do.  After 1990, I was hooked, he made me love Chicago, and I loved him.  I visited Chicago and Billy frequently after that, and I am so happy to have been able to maintain my relationship with him given such a large distance between us. 

    I am so happy he got to see beloved Cubs win a World Series in his lifetime.  I will forever remember all the Cubs games we went to, rain or shine, he was a true fan.  I will miss Billy for the rest of my life.  Thank you Billy for being my Cousin, but most of all, thank you for being my friend. 

    Goodbye Billy, and peace be with you, and I hope you get to keep on traveling the world, and may the moss never grow under your feet.

    Love you always,



  • R. Ross

    on 06/18/19

    My sincerest condolences o the Gays Family for the loss of your dear love one William Jr.  You can be confident that our compassionate Father, Jehovah understands your pain and grief and will act in your behalf to provide the comfort you all need during this very difficult time......Psalm 34:18, 19; Philippians 4:6, 7; and 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.

  • Joan Cackler

    on 06/18/19

    My First Cousin Billy, I will miss you. You were 5 years old when I was born and I was your first "Gays" cousin.  You have left me with many memories that I will hold in my heart.  All the family years in Chicago--birthdays, all the holidays,  You and Mikey were boyhood companions and you and he rode mine and Margie's bikes to our house.  In 1949 we moved to California and after your service in Korea you came to visit and we went to Yosemite and CLIMBED TO THE TOPE OF YOSEMITE FALLS without water.  In 1957 Russ and I married and then came Jamie, Todd and Derek in that order.  That Derek in my eyes would treat you as an uncle has eased my heart and kept me "in the know" with his care of love of you.

    In 2017 Russ and I visited you at Smith Crossing.  When I left I hugged you and kissed you and said I loved you.  Go my dear cousin, may the Lord bless you and keep you, until we meet again.  With love, Joanie

  • Karen Anderson Maguy

    on 06/19/19

    What fond memories I have of times and trips spent in Chicago with cousin Billy, Great Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill along with Great Aunt Eva and Uncle Joe! I always marveled at Billy’s keen interest in all things mechanical (toys included!). Of course I’ll never forget when Chuck and I brought the girls for a visit in 2008 and we spent most of the afternoon watching one of Billy’s favorite sports on tv- boxing! Treasured memories of a special man. 

  • Margaret (Margie ) Kriz Anderson

    on 06/19/19

    Billy, Joan and I, some might say and I think we did, enjoy a childhood of envy.  Every Christmas Eve celebration was spent at one of our Gays family Aunts homes on a rotating basis with the entire clan gathering. The Gays Aunts included Lena, "Our"Mary, Margaret (my Mom), Eva, and "Bill's"Mary.  Going to Aunt Bill's Mary and Uncle Bill's house got us to see Billy's elaborate trains, tracks, villages and accessories or watch his Mickey Mouse cartoons (1930's) from his film projector or later his chemistry set in the basement from which he could concoct anything.  It would portend his aptitude and capabilities for the future.  Each of us grands had a Godmother from the Aunts.  Billy's was Aunt Eva. After Uncle Bill died in 1988 and that year so also did Eva's Joe Vische, Aunt Eva looked after Billy like a son.  I contacted each of them weekly for over a year.  Billy and I had some wonderful conversations and I realized that he cherished the family as much as the family cherished him.  God Bless you Billy as you cross the Rubicon and meet our wonderful Gays family again.  I have missed our conversations and will miss you.

  • Scott Anderson

    on 06/19/19

    Oh Billy,

    I will always remember your fascination with everything electronic. My first memory is you showing me the basement where you kept every device I had ever heard of. As a small boy I was fascinated that one person could possibly have so many different TVs, radios and walkie talkies. I will always remember your quick smile, amazing laugh and quick wit. You will be missed but we will take comfort knowing that you have all time in the world to watch sports, tinker with your devices and keep watch on the rest of the family. 

    Until we we all meet again. Rest in piece dearest Uncle Bill. 

  • Juliet Anderson

    on 06/20/19

    Dearest Billy,

    I loved our large family celebrations with you our Cousin Billy.  You were so smart and funny and always had that cool Italian American look and way about you.  From our visits to Chicago back in 1971 as a very young girl with my Mom, Margie and Dad, Roger and sister, Karen and brother, Scott, you were the “kids Cousin”. You seemed much like our Uncle. You played card games with us, taught us magic tricks and told us stories from the past.   While growing up, I loved our trips to Chicago and having you visit all of us in California (for birthday’s, for a stop after your travels, and later as adults, for our weddings).  You often traveled to California at the same time as Uncle Joe and Aunt Eva and it was such a treat.  We all looked forward to that time together and our large Italian style meals and conversation.  When I later visited you as an adult after high school and in 2003, 2006 and 2009 as well, I am so glad I was able to make those trips to Chicago.  You were so caring to Aunt Eva (you were like her son) and caring to all of us.  I’m fortunate that you had that bond growing up with my Mom, Margie and her family in Illinois.  I’ll always remember your basement filled with TV’s and electrical equipment which you disassembled/assembled and the incredible size fish that hung on your walls. I loved calling you and listening to your latest travels or just catching up on family.  When Olivia was born, you always asked about her and gave her hugs and kisses over the phone – lifting my heart.  You were so genuine, loving and kind and having that contagious at ease smile! Thank you Billy for touching our lives, my life, Olivia’s, my Mom’s, my Dad’s, Sister and Brother, all of our families. I will miss your wonderful voice, smile and knowledge and the “you” that you were to us.  I will miss you.  I will always remember you Billy and I will always keep your spirit alive and share stories with Olivia.  Peace be with you dearest Billy.  We love you.

    Love, Juliet 

  • Andrea Nelson

    on 06/22/19

    They say you don’t get to choose your family. But this wasn’t true in regards to Bill. He was like a grandfather to me. He was at every holiday, graduation, birthday party, and just for random family dinners. I remember attending baseball games with him, going out to dinner at white fence farm where he would talk about all the cars he has owned. Him and my dad were such great friends and we’re able to travel together. I’m glad he was part of our family. He brought joy, laughter, and some great stories to our family. 

    May you in peace with our Heavenly Father. You will surely be missed. 

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