William R. Killian, retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant, passed away Oct. 14, 2016, with his family by his side.
He was born in Brooklyn Dec. 4, 1921, to William and Mary (Terney) Killian.
Chief Killian entered military service in August 1942 and retired in 1981 after serving for 40 years. Among his awards and decorations, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Airman’s Medal, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Prisoner of War Medal and many more.
In 1944, while serving in World War II as a radio operator/aerial gunner, his B-24 Liberator was shot down over enemy territory. Two days later, he was captured by the Germans and became a POW at Stalag Luft IV. He participated in the 86-day, 488-mile forced march before he was liberated on April 26, 1945.
On May 18, 1946, he married the former Margaret M. Joyce. Together they made their home in East Meadow before moving to the North Fork in 1971.
Predeceased by his wife of 70 years on July 3, 2016, he is survived by his children, Bill Killian Jr. of Mattituck, Peggy Killian of Southold and Charlie Killian of East Quogue; a sister, Mary; three grandchildren, Krista Maldonado, Heather Killian and Courtney Killian; and a great-granddaughter, Michaela. He was also predeceased by his brothers, Frank and Paul Killian.
The family will receive visitors Tuesday, Oct. 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold. Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Sacred Heart R.C. Cemetery in Cutchogue.
Donations to Mattituck or Southold fire department rescue squads would be appreciated.
This is a paid notice.