William R. Price
Bill and Jean Price are surrounded by their four children in this recent photo. In the front, from left, are Krista Repp, Bill and Jean Price, and Karen Davis. In the back are Jim Price and Heidi Harshman. (Submitted Photo)
Jean said she asked Bill, who was two years older than she was, to a Y Club dance. After a four-year courtship, the couple married in 1957, the beginning of a happy 54-year marriage.
Bill was a 1953 Hagerstown High School graduate and earned degrees from Hagerstown Junior College and Shepherd College, then a master's degree from Shippensburg State College, now Shippensburg University, in 1968.
Bill served from 1955 to 1959 in the U.S. Air Force, which took him to Missouri. After their marriage, Jean went to Missouri with her husband, but found it hard to make ends meet and she returned to Washington County to work.
The couple first lived with Jean's mother in Funkstown, then in a house on Edgewood Drive before moving into "a big old stucco house in Funkstown."
"We kept moving up," said Jean, as their family grew to include four children.
They built a house in 1978 in the older part of St. James Village, when their youngest child and only son, Jim, was 5. That house recently had been sold and the couple planned to move to Greenwich Park. Instead, Jean ended up making the move alone, not long after Bill's death.
Bill's 33-year career in education began at Conococheague Elementary School, where he was a sixth-grade teacher. He then became a teaching principal at Dargan School, a two-room school, and Downsville Elementary School, before serving as principal at Hancock, Pangborn, Williamsport and Clear Spring elementary schools.
"He was a leader, such an administrator. It was in his blood to organize," oldest child Karen Davis said.
Bill was recognized as Maryland State Principal of the Year in 1992.
Much to the chagrin of his children, Bill was well-known in the community. Bill did not work in the schools his children attended, though.
"I still can't go anywhere where someone doesn't say, 'You're Bill Price's daughter, aren't you?'" middle daughter Krista Repp said.
"It made it hard to get in trouble in school," son Jim Price said.
Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown has been a constant in the family's lives. Bill and Jean were married there; their children were baptized, confirmed and married there; and seven of 13 grandchildren were baptized there.
Bill started attending church at Trinity when he was 12. His father recently had died and he had been invited to go to church there. Jean became a member after she married Bill.
Boy Scout Troop 10 is sponsored by the church. Jim, who earned the rank of Eagle Scout, said his father was involved with the troop, serving as committee chairman. Five of nine grandsons were involved in Scouting and the oldest grandson is an Eagle Scout from Troop 10.
Jim said his father, who also was a Boy Scout but didn't advance very far, went on all of the camping trips. He remembers on their first camping adventure his father poured hot grease into a garbage bag, lesson learned and never repeated.
The Scouts tried to set up their tents a good distance from Bill's because of his snoring, Jim said.
Jean said Bill and several other Scout leaders became good friends and called themselves the Coffee Cup Patrol.