William Herley Yonce, (Bill), age 87, of the Peachtree Community in Murphy passed on to his heavenly home on Sunday, September 26, 2021. Bill was a native of the Nantahala Community in Macon County. He had lived in Peachtree since he was a teenager.
Bill was known in this area for his 50 years of service at WKRK as a radio announcer, where he was best known for hosting the show “party-line”. Bill enjoyed doing community service with his longtime friend Mae Clay, as well as numerous volunteers throughout the years.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Martha Kaye Lunsford Yonce, his mother and father, Ida Willis Yonce and Osborne Yonce, his sisters, Peggy Yonce, Nell Yonce Pannell, and Grace Yonce Tallant, three brothers, Carl Yonce, Gene Yonce and James David (JD) Yonce.
Bill is survived by two brothers - Paul Yonce of Murphy, NC and Harold Yonce of Murphy, NC; three children - daughter, Terri Yonce Lapwood (and her husband, Tim Lapwood) of Suffolk, England, Shanna Yonce Chastain (her husband, Ronnie Chastain) of Murphy, NC and Eric Yonce of Murphy NC; 5 grandchildren - James Lapwood (and wife, Helen) of England, Katie Lapwood Ball (and husband, Toby)of England, Alex Parker, Joseph Deetz, Harmony Lunsford of Murphy, 3 great grandchildren - Eliza Rose, Isabella Lapwood and Blythe Ball of England, and many nieces and nephews that Bill loved dearly.
Bill served 12 years active duty in the United States Air Force and 3 years as a reservist afterwards. He was extremely proud to speak of his military service. He served in Armed Forces Radio and TV while stationed in Europe. He would often speak of how, as a young Airman, he witnessed the majority of the atomic bomb tests that were conducted near White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and Enewetak. He served in the Middle East where he worked in Intelligence and Secretary to the General for a portion of his service. He was awarded “Mr. Air Force” while he was in Portland Oregon.
Bill would say that he had two life goals when he was a child. The first was to become a DJ and the second was to become a pilot. He said that with the grace of God and the USAF he was blessed to have obtained both dreams!
Bill Yonce was a family man and a community man. He believed in making every day count and making a real difference. He was a believer in life. When he came back to Murphy after his military service he went to work as a DJ at WKRK where he enjoyed every minute with his radio family.
Bill worked countless hours doing community service and events to raise money for local citizens, and to improve capabilities in this rural area. One such event was the helicopter pad at the local hospital. He worked thousands of hours coordinating and participating in community benefit/fund-raising events to help locals in need. Bill loved his family, friends and community and was a great friend to so many.
In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a local charity of your choice or to The WNC Hospice House Foundation in memory of Bill Yonce.
A private service will be held for the family on Monday October 4, 2021. Rev. Aud Brown and Dr. Chester Jones will officiate. Military Rites will be conducted by the American Legion Post #96 Murphy, American Legion Post 532 Hayesville, VFW Post 6812, Hayesville, NC and the Marine Corp League Marble, NC.
WKRK and the family are planning a future community event for all who wish to show tribute to Bill for his many years of service and dedication to the community. Details will be released once finalized.
Townson Rose Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements.
You may send tributes to the family at www.townson-rose.com