William (Bill) Joseph Abbott, 84, of Monticello passed away peacefully at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday (Oct. 19, 2021) at Kirby Medical Center, Monticello.
Bill was born on Oct. 4, 1937, in Monticello, the son of Avery and Anna (Thomas) Abbott. He married Tamara (Miller) Fox on June 2, 1979, in Monticello.
Bill is survived by his wife, Tamara “Tam” Abbott of Monticello; daughter Karen (Darren) Ross of Wildwood, Mo.; son, Travis (Joy) Fox of Monticello; and daughter Traci (Tony) Kaufman of Zionsville, Ind.
Bill was the proud PopPop of seven grandsons, Tristan, Trevor and Treyden Fox of Monticello and Barrett, Avery, Tucker and Wells Kaufman of Zionsville.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Avery and Anna Abbott; brother, Thomas “Tom” Abbott; and sister-in-law, Tonya Abbott.
Bill officially retired in January 2021 when he sold Bill Abbott Inc.
Bill grew up on a farm and, even as a young boy, was always interested in trains and automobiles. He noted that the best Christmas gift he and Tom ever received was a Lionel train set when he was 10 years old that led to collecting Lionel trains.
In 1955, Bill graduated from Mansfield High School. In 1958, Bill started working for Buck Buchanan as the parts and service manager in which he eventually bought the dealership from Mr. Buchanan in 1967. Bill owned and operated Bill Abbott Inc. in Monticello for 53 years.
Bill earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial administration at the University of Illinois in 1962 and was a lifelong Illini fan. Bill loved his family, friends, the Monticello community and Bill Abbott Inc. employees and customers. He would often say the “best thing that ever happened to me” was getting married to his wife, Tam. He enjoyed driving his 2003 50th anniversary edition Corvette and riding his Harley Davidson motorcycles. Bill traveled many times to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
In the summer of 2005, Bill and Tam moved to Bill’s favorite house in Monticello on State Street. The horse icon, Thunder, is a staple of the house, and Bill would tease that “Thunder’s main job is to allow the grandkids to climb on him.” Bill also enjoyed “snow birding” to Boca Grande, Fla., during the cold winter months. When asked, he would say, “I’m having a JAP DIP!” which stood for Just Another Perfect Day in Paradise.
Bill was a longtime member of the Rotary (past president), Chamber of Commerce (past president), National Auto Dealers Association (past chairman), Illinois Auto Dealers (past chairman), First State Bank and First State Bancorp of Monticello Inc. (board of directors), First Presbyterian Church (elder), Piatt County Farm Bureau, Monticello Industrial Action Corporation (board of directors), University of Illinois President’s Council and Alumni Association and proud veteran of the U.S. Army. In 2016, Bill was a Time Magazine Dealer of the Year nominee.
Bill enjoyed supporting the Monticello community in various capacities. Bill was an avid Sages fan and donated the Monticello scoreboards and driver education cars for both Monticello and Bement schools, local Boy Scout troops and the athletic department at the UI. He also sponsored area Little League teams and the Piatt County Trail Blazers Rodeo. Bill was grateful to all of his Bill Abbott Inc. employees and customers. He would often come home and share a funny prank an employee would do or a story from a customer who simply stopped in to chat or have coffee. The family is thankful that Bill has now found peace and comfort in heaven.
Visitation will be held at Mackey-Wright Funeral Home from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24. Funeral services will be held at First Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 25.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, Kirby Medical Center and Traditions Health Hospice. Condolences may be sent to the family at mackey-wrightfuneralhome.com.