Obituaries: William P. ‘Bill’ Canavan, 97

On Sunday January 8, 2017 we lost another member of the Greatest Generation. William P. “Bill” Canavan, 97, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family. He leaves his devoted wife of 70 years Nan (Zliczewski) Canavan.


Bill was born Sept. 25, 1919 in Scotland, the son of the late Thomas and Susan (McClusker) Canavan. At the age of four Bill came to the U.S. with his parents and was raised in Springfield, Illinois. He proudly served in the Navy during World War II on the USS Niblack. During the war he rescued several men who were in the water from the torpedoed British ship the HMS Holcombe. His actions were recognized with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corp Medal which was the highest non-combat heroism medal given at that time.


Bill had a very strong work ethic and enjoyed his many decades with Plainville Electrical Products Company (PEPCO) in Bristol.


Bill enjoyed spending time with his family, gardening, reading and helping others. He was an avid bowler and, of course, always had time for golf!


Besides his wife he is survived by his children, Thomas Canavan and wife Adriana of Grafton, MA, Scott Canavan and his wife Catherine of Shoreham, VT, and Cindy Truslow and her husband Al of Southington and Naples, FL. He was also very proud of his four grandchildren, Colleen, Caitlin, Winter and Silas Canavan, and two great-grandchildren Ryleigh and Kellen.


In Illinois Bill leaves his nieces Diane Canavan, Kathy Rakes, Maureen and husband Pat O’Conner, Carole Juranek and husband Bob, and nephew Michael Canavan and wife Donna as well as their mother Carolyn Lippa and her husband Chuck. Bill also leaves his brother Tom Canavan and sister-in-law Patsy Canavan and his nephew Tom Canavan.


He was predeceased by his brothers Joseph and John Canavan.


The family extends their appreciation to the wonderful staff at the Alzheimer’s Resource Center in Plantsville for the excellent care Bill received. His care partners in neighborhood 1A treated him with such kindness and respect for which we will always be grateful.


Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105 or online at


Services with Military Honors will be held at a future date at Arlington National Cemetery. For online condolences please visit


Bill’s precious gift to us of endless and everlasting love we will always cherish.