William John Warheit, “Bill” to most and “Willie” to many, passed away on August 21, 2014 after a brief but heroic battle with cancer. Bill was born to William M. and Dorothy B. Warheit in Heidelberg, Germany on December 16, 1955, at the Army base where they were stationed. After completing their service the family moved to Central Florida and ultimately made their home in Winter Park. Bill attended Oviedo High School and graduated from the former Florida Technological University in 1977 with a B.A. in Radio and Television. He went to work at WESH-TV Channel 2 in 1979 and embarked on a long and distinguished career as Technical Director for the evening newscasts, “punching the buttons” for over 20,000 news shows and bringing numerous other skills - graphic, audio, camera, photography, and diplomatic charm, to name a few - into play on various promotions, commercial shoots, and assorted productions. Upon semi-retirement from TV in 2003, he indulged his lifelong passion for music by working at a local Orlando record store, Rock 'N' Roll Heaven. His extensive musical and concert-going experience and knowledge of both the early Florida music scene and the British Invasion in particular made him the person you called if you wanted the answer to an obscure band or song question or help finding same if it could be obtained.
His many talents and often intense nature could be intimidating from a distance but he could relate to and communicate with just about anyone, regardless of language, culture, knowledge, or attitude. He could readily recount many fascinating personal experiences no matter the subject, and this made him a scintillating companion in nearly any situation. And if he counted you as a friend, he would do what he could to help you if you needed it.
With family roots in and near Pittsburgh, PA, Bill was also a lifelong fan of the Steelers and Pirates, and an avid follower of sports in general, attending many football and baseball games over the years. He also loved astronomy and the space program, frequently watching for the shuttle or space station to pass overhead, and rarely did he miss seeing a launch. His other interests included science fiction TV, movies, and conventions, Silver Age comic books and artists, photography, and his beloved Piaggio scooter.
He is survived by his loving wife Julie Parker, nieces Penny Brown and Danielle Jackson, nephews Tim Warheit and Mike Brown, their two feline companions Nova and Shady Bear, and numerous other relatives, colleagues and friends. He will be greatly missed by all. At the end of many a newscast after fading to black he would turn to his co-workers and say, “Well, it's on its way to Mars.” He is now on his way on the next stage of the journey, out towards infinity – with just possibly a stop at Mars to see what the Martians think about the stuff we've been beaming their way all this time.
Cremation arrangements are through Baldwin Brothers Cremation Society. No formal service is planned, but the family will be hosting a private life celebration at a later date. Further details will be available through Baldwin Brothers as they are finalized. Farewell, Bill, and Godspeed.