William Heaney 

William "Bill" HeaneyBELFAST - William "Bill" Heaney, 76, of 6 Pike St., Belfast died unexpectedly at Jones Memorial Hospital on Saturday, April 18 [2020]

To the many people who knew Bill, he was a delight. He was a multi-talented teacher, actor, politician, historian, and more. He was described by many as friendly, personable, and charismatic. He was also a gifted and humorous storyteller. He was so many things that folks who knew him suggested that he write his autobiography to share his adventures with others.

Born Oct. 27th, 1943 in Dansville, NY, Bill was the son of the late J. Wm. and Marion Herdman Heaney of Angelica. His mother was a registered nurse, and his father was doing four years of duty with the U.S. Army in both Europe and the South Pacific during World War II.

Bill entered Angelica Central School in the first kindergarten the school ever had. He played sports and was active in the chorus and student council. In junior and senior high school, Bill was an active Boy Scout earning his Eagle Scout Award when he was just 15. After high school graduation in 1961, Bill enrolled in SUNY at Geneseo.

In college Bill was very active in campus politics and his fraternity Theta Omega Phi or the Order of Prometheus. Once situated on campus, Bill ran for president of the student Senate only to lose narrowly. After that, he was elected President of his fraternity and graduated in 1965, being named to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. He would later be named to two other "Who's Who" – one in American Education and one in American Politics.

Even though Bill graduated with a B.S. in Social Studies Education, he had also acquired an English major too. That was why Belfast Central School hired him to teach English in Grades 10-12. During his years in Belfast, he was advisor to many class organizations. Out of school, he began acting and directing in community theatre, dinner theatre and NYS historical drama. In 27 years he directed or acted in nearly 30 plays in western NY and northwestern PA.

It is noteworthy that in the late '60s, Bill became a "hippie" and attended the Woodstock Music Fair in Bethel, NY, one of his truly unforgettable experiences.

Bill had always been interested in politics. At the encouragement of his friend, John Hasper, he became a Republican and ran for the Town Board in Belfast. He won, and three years later he became the Republican Election Commissioner. Two years after that he became the Allegany County Republican Chairman. He would serve in that post for 19 years.

As chairman, Bill became a delegate to two national Republican Conventions – in 1992 in Houston for George Bush and in 1996 in San Diego for Bob Dole. During these years, Bill also worked for Rep. Amo Houghton as Congressional Regional Director and political consultant. Finally, in 2001 Bill was asked by Gov. George Pataki to become a regional representative in the western Southern Tier of NYS. He did and worked at this until 2007. Then he worked part time for Assemblyman Joe Giglio and then full time for Senator Cathy Young, retiring in 2017.

Somewhere along the line Bill became involved in boxing. In 1989 he received a phone call from Brian Sullivan, a Buffalo boxing promoter who asked if the Belfast Lions Club would like to sponsor a boxing tournament to commemorate the 100 years since William Muldoon brought John L. Sullivan to Belfast to train for his championship fight. Bill said yes, and thus began his 10 year boxing promotion around NYS.

In retirement, Bill immersed himself in Allegany County local history directing the local historians production of "History Week" the last week of September in Wellsville and Cuba.

Bill is survived by his wife Eva; three sons, Aran (Teresa), Brendan (Molly) and Jered (Jasmine); two brothers, John (Mary) and Mark (Kay); seven grandchildren, Aidan, Quinn, Brody, Owen, Jenna, Finn and Mara; and several nieces and nephews.

A private visitation will be held at the Treusdell Funeral Home in Belfast. Internment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery. A memorial service will be scheduled at the convenience of the family at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Belfast Lion's Club. Online condolences may be made at

Published by Wellsville Daily Reporter from Apr. 19 to Apr. 21, 2020.