Bossi, William J. (819th)

William J. Bossi 1William J. Bossi

Biography:  William Joseph Bossi, ‘Bill”, was born on October 23, 1922, in Windber, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Attilio Bossi and Anna M. Manotti and attended school in Windber, through the 12th grade. His enlistment record indicates that he worked as a plumber, gas fitter or steam fitter prior to the war.

In April of 1942, Bill married the former Anne Alex who was born in Scalp Level, PA, and was the daughter of John Alex and Elizabeth Stefan. 

Service Time:  Bill entered the service on December 30, 1942, and was sent to O’Reilly General Hospital in Springfield, Missouri. While there, he trained to be a Medic and Surgical Technician. He was promoted to the rank of Technician 5th Grade and at some point, he was assigned to the 819th Tank Destroyer Battalion as part of their Medical Detachment.

The 819th shipped out from the San Francisco port in March of 1944, on the USS George O. Squier. They arrived in Hawaii on March 24th and went through an intense series of training, schooling and re-organization to prepare them for action in the Pacific.

William J. Bossi 2Bill did not remain with the unit but was shipped back to the U.S., on September 12, 1944, to attend OCS (Officer Candidate School), which he completed on February 8, 1945, graduating as a 2nd Lieutenant. He continued his education at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, to become a Medical Administrative Officer.

He used his training at Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, working with amputee patients. He was later assigned to Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, to work in their Rehabilitation Center with patients primarily from the European Theater of Operations.

While Bill was in the Pacific, Anne had traveled with her infant son Thomas, to Detroit, Michigan, where she worked as a riveter in a factory, making equipment for the war effort.

Bill left active service on February 23, 1946, but he remained in the National Guard. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on February 18, 1957, and served in the Guard for a total of 20 years.

In his civilian life, Bill worked for The Peoples Natural Gas Company for 44 years, retiring as the General Superintendent. He and Anne had six more children, James, Christine, Anne, William Jr., John and Susan.

William J. Bossi 3In his spare time, he was a basketball referee in western PA and northern Maryland. He was also very active in his church, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, serving in a number of committees and positions, including Eucharistic Minister.

Bill passed away on August 6, 2015, and was laid to rest in the St. Anthony of Padua Mausoleum in Windber, PA.  I want to thank Bill’s daughter, Susan, for providing information and photos of her father for this tribute.