William Buscemi Death, Obituary¬† – Dr. William I. Buscemi, 86 (born August 29, 1936), died peacefully on December 19 at Northwood Assisted Living in Springfield while receiving hospice care. He was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. His parents Ann (Vitterose) and Tony, brother Mike, and other family members predeceased him, as did his infamously mischievous but beloved wife Jean Colleen (Mullin), who died in May after spending two-thirds of a century lavishing care on and brutally abusing Bill. Bill is survived by his brother Tom of West Jefferson, Sarah Buscemi Gray of Springfield (and her children Brandi, Dominic, Aaron, and Dina), son Robert (and wife Janet T. Planet) of Los Angeles, and numerous loving family and friends.

Bill grew up as the eldest of three boys in West Jefferson, above Ann & Tony’s Restaurant, in the 1950s. He worked every job there while still in his teens and returned for meals every month for the rest of his life. Bill was a freshman football all-star who was as fiery as he was poor at golf. “I pretty much knocked down every man I saw until I got to the one with the ball,” he’d boast. During halftime, he’d play trumpet with the marching band while wearing full pads. Bill began teaching at Wittenberg University the same year he received his Ph.D. in Political Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame.

He was given tenure and taught there for the following 30 years. He was a genius in the classroom, and he was recognized a “Distinguished Teacher” in 1983. He’d spend the first half of the semester in his infamous “Conservatives and Liberals” class rabble-rousing and slaughtering all of the students as a furious conservative, only to rapidly pivot in the second half to pin everyone’s ears back as a no-holds-barred liberal. He maintained that actual politics are far more concerned with passion, showmanship, and worldview than with any allegedly self-evident, “neutral” set of facts. Regardless of how persistent students were, he would never reveal his true political beliefs.

(Neither will we, but here’s a hint: He attended two Democratic national conventions with his wife Colleen, who served as a delegate for Gary Hart’s and Al Gore’s presidential campaigns in 1986 and 2000, respectively.) Bill adored the outdoors, pontooned summers from cottages on Buckeye Lake and then Indian Lake, and wintered in Sarasota, Florida, with Colleen in retired bliss at Sun-N-Fun RV Resort. Bill was a devoted husband, father, brother, son, colleague, and friend. He was also a member of the ROMEO Club in Springfield (Retired Officers and Men of Excellence).
He will be sorely missed.