Cover photo for William Clifford (Bill) Abell, Sr.'s Obituary
William Clifford (Bill) Abell, Sr. Profile Photo

William Clifford (Bill) Abell, Sr.

June 12, 1926 — October 14, 2022


William Clifford (Bill) Abell, Sr.


William Clifford (Bill) Abell, Sr., 96, of Albany, GA passed away, Friday, October 14, 2022 at Willson Hospice House.  Funeral services Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at Mathews Funeral Home at 11:00 a.m. Interment will follow at Crown Hill Cemetery with military honors.


The family will receive friends Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. until the funeral hour at Mathews Funeral Home.


Bill was born in Richland, GA, to the late Clifford Hansford Abell and Susie Bartlett Gunnels. He moved with his family to Columbus and attended Jordan High School where he played basketball and baseball.  In 1943, the basketball team was State Champion and Bill was awarded MVP on the 1944 State Champion runner-up team. In 1943 and 1944, he also played on the All Bi-City high school baseball team.

After high school, he joined the US Navy in June 1944. Upon completing boot camp and gunnery school, he boarded his ship in Boston and traveled through the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor.  In April 1945, his ship started landing invasions on Okinawa. Bill’s ship, an LCSL, joined the picket line to provide cover against Kamikaze attacks and was credited with shooting one down.  In April 1946, he was honorably discharged and returned to Columbus, GA.  Bill then went to South Georgia College for two years on a basketball and baseball scholarship.  In January 1950, back in Columbus, he married Freda Bailey.  Bill was later called back to the Naval Reserves during the Korean War. While still in Columbus, Bill and Freda became parents to Billy and Robin and in 1959 the family moved to Albany, GA.

Bill had a successful career in sales and marketing spending most of his time working for AM International. In his free time, he was an avid golfer and had a proud moment shooting his age at 68.  He enjoyed his time coaching Little League baseball. Other favorite things during retirement were fishing, gardening, and being called “Big Daddy” by his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Bill was a member of Sherwood Baptist Church since 1959.

In addition to his parents, Bill is preceded in death by Freda, his loving wife of 68 years; his stepfather, Arden D. Gunnels; and his brother Jack Abell.

Survivors include his son Billy Abell of Albany, GA, his daughter Robin (Tom) Nance of Marietta, GA, grandchildren Bradley (Emily) Abell of Leesburg, GA, Katy Abell (Nathan Arnold) of Albany, GA, Sam Nance (Ali) of Atlanta, GA, Walker Nance of Atlanta, GA, great-grandchildren Nora Abell, Eli Abell, and Frida Rose Arnold.

In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make memorial contributions to the Albany Rescue Mission ( Albany Rescue Mission 604 N. Monroe St.  Albany, GA  31701; or Shriners Hospitals for Children ( Shriners International Headquarters 2900 Rocky Point Drive Tampa, FL  33607.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Clifford (Bill) Abell, Sr., please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Funeral Service

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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