William (Bill) Bickel passed suddenly in his sleep, at home on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. He shared 65 years of love and learning with his family. Graveside Services will be held on Friday, September 18th at 1 o’clock at Beth David Cemetery, 300 Elmont Ave, Elmont NY 11003. The family will sit shiva Saturday the 19th through Saturday the 26th from 12-6 on weekend days and 2-8 on weekdays at their home at 43 Peace Rd in Randolph, NJ. All are welcome to visit; the family encourages all to gather outdoors on the deck and will minimize close in-person contact in an effort to keep everyone safe during this time. If you cannot attend, please share your memories here. Bill’s family will cherish them forever.
Bill was born in 1955 to Benno and Sheila Bickel. He was raised in Yonkers, NY, the oldest of four brothers. He spent his childhood summers at a bungalow colony in Monticello with his large extended family, and he remained close to his many aunts, uncles, and cousins for his entire life. Benno died when Bill was only 19, and Bill helped to raise his younger brothers.
Bill was very close to his cousin Nancy Churnin, and got to know her good friend Robin Becker in junior high school. By the end of high school, Robin and Bill started dating, and they continued their relationship even as Bill left for Amherst College and Robin went to college 350 miles away. Robin became very sick in college and spent an entire semester in the hospital, and Bill supported her during that time. After she recovered, the two were engaged, and they married in 1979 after they had both graduated.
Bill and Robin lived in the Bronx until 1987, when they moved to New Jersey to start a family. Tragically, their first son Benjamin died in 1989 two months after he was born. They later had two sons, Aaron and Zachary, in 1990 and 1993.
Bill was a writer who loved mystery, crime, comics, and science fiction. He published various short stories and later ran periodicals and websites centered around his interests. Because he could work from home, he was also able to be the primary caregiver for his children. For years, he spent his days playing, teaching, and supporting his kids and his wife.
He was the kind of person who unhesitatingly put others first. If a friend or loved one needed anything, he would be the first to volunteer to help out. He was always thinking of others – texting and calling family and friends at all hours and buying impromptu gifts and trinkets. He supported Robin unwaveringly through difficult years with health challenges and career pressures. He was fiercely committed to his values, and he lived by them faithfully. He knew what was right.
Bill loved baseball, musical theater, history, and all learning. He was a voracious reader, always in the middle of multiple books and audiobooks and articles. He was curious about everything. There were always more questions to be answered and understood.
The Minute Rice, Ragu, and Coca Cola companies will also mourn Bill’s loss, as his diet consisted largely of their products for much of his life. He was not a gourmand; he knew what he liked and he stuck with it. He was truly a person who knew himself from the very start. Other people didn’t change him so much as he changed others, with his generosity, his dedication, and his spirit. Everyone who was lucky enough to know him and interact with him over his life carries a piece of his personality with them.
Bill leaves behind his mother Sheila; his wife Robin of 41 years; his two sons Aaron and Zachary; his brothers Marty, Michael, and David; and countless relatives and friends who are forever better for having known him.
The family asks in lieu of flowers to send a donation in Bill’s memory to the March of Dimes or the ACLU.