Bill attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn and finished his education at Webb Institute of Naval Architecture in the Bronx from 1931-1935. During World War II, Bill built ships for the Navy, holding supervisory positions at Sun Ship, Bethlehem-Sparrows Point, Baltimore, Md., and Consolidated Steel Corporation in Orange, Texas. After WWII, he purchased and ran Teche Steel Works, Inc. in New Iberia, La., where he built smaller naval vessels.
In 1948, Bill and his wife, Florence, moved to La Jolla, where he participated with the La Jolla Players Community Theater, the patrons for which included Ms. Caroline Cummins, Ms. William S. Kellogg and Gregory Peck.
In 1951, Bill bought Acme Ornamental Iron Works, Inc. in National City, which he ran as president for 27 years before his retirement in 1978. He parlayed his shipbuilding skills into steel fabrication and participated as a subcontractor in the construction of many San Diego buildings, including the aviary at the Wild Animal Park, Scripps Memorial Hospital, The Bishop’s School, Mr. A’s and the San Onofre Power Plant. His favorite construction always remained his home on Country Club Drive and the Two-Headed Eagle at the Scottish Rite Center in Mission Valley. Bill donated the eagle in 1965 after being a member of the first Scottish Rite class to be held in that building.
Bill was a member of the La Jolla Masonic Lodge for 54 years. He served as Master of the Lodge in 1964, and received the Hiram Distinguished Service Award in 2000. He was an avid and excellent bridge player, joining the La Jolla Men’s Bridge Club in 1948, where he served as president several times, organizing annual meetings and fund raisers to encourage new membership. After his wife’s death, Bill played duplicate bridge at the Soledad Bridge Club, the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, and Adventures in Bridge, eventually becoming a Life Master. He was a Life Associate and 50-year member of The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.
Because Florence and Bill loved to travel, they visited many countries. After her death, Bill joined Global Volunteers Service Program to teach English to high school students in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Italy, even though he was in his late 80s. He also volunteered in the community by reading to pre-schoolers at the La Jolla Library and kindergartners at Pacific Beach Elementary.
His strong sense of civic responsibility, commitment to bettering the community and love of La Jolla led him to establish the Markey Family Grove of trees at La Jolla Cove.
Bill was known for being a true gentleman. He could be spotted a block away by his warm smile, beret and bowtie. He enjoyed people, young and old alike. He was always up for an adventure and showed a vitality and passion for life to the end. He will be profoundly missed by many.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 53 years, and two brothers, Milton and Richard. Survivors include one daughter, Melissa Renaud Markey, of La Jolla, California, as well as several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held on his 99th birthday, April 4, at St James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.