Lifelong Five Towner William "Bill" Hewlett was considered by those who knew him to be a generous man who was loved by many people. The Woodmere resident Hewlett died on Jan. 31 from Covid-19 complications. He was 77.
Born on June 6, 1944 to Charles and Dorothy, Hewlett is a descendent of George Hewlett, who settled on Long Island in the late 1600s and is the namesake of the hamlet. Hewlett and his two siblings are the family’s 10th generation. Hewlett’s older brother John recalled D-Day being the same day his younger brother was born.
“That day, there was a big celebration for the successful Normandy landings as firefighters were driving the trucks around with the sirens going off,” he said. “One of the firemen put my sister and I on the fire truck and drove us around the block. As a six-year old, I thought the celebration was for the birth of my brother.”
A 1962 graduate of Methodist University in North Carolina, John recalled one of his brother’s favorite college memories of talking history with a future President of the United States.
“Jimmy Carter’s daughter was attending Methodist at the same time my brother did,” he said. “My brother met Jimmy and they spent an hour talking history. He said they had a wonderful conversation.”
Hewlett went on to become a probation officer for Nassau County for roughly 30 years. Connected with firefighters since that “birthday celebration,” Hewlett was a 54-year member of the volunteer Woodmere Fire Department.
He married Jo Ann Penna on Oct. 2, 1982. They would raise their two daughters, Jodi and Jenny in the same house that Hewlett grew up in on Center Street in Woodmere. Hewlett lived there throughout his life.
Jodi DiSpigno described her father as a loving, smart and friendly man who was prideful about his family heritage. “He was loved by so many in the community, not just his neighbors,” DiSpigno said. “He knew and had daily conversations with everyone including the UPS driver, the men who work in the local convenience store, the bagel store, you name it.”
When he was not working or at the firehouse, DiSpigno said her father loved spending time with his family, studying history, adding to his train collection and rooting on the New York Mets and Islanders.
Hewlett is survived by his daughters Jodi, Jenny Yule, his brother John, four grandchildren, JT, Dylan, Jaden, Juliana and several loving nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his wife of 32 years, Jo Ann and his sister Sally. The family held a small service at Hewlett’s gravesite at Trinity St. John’s in Hewlett on Feb. 9. A ceremonial drive-by past the Woodmere firehouse was also held the same day.
“His neighbor next door that I never met left me a message shortly after he passed saying what a wonderful person he was and how he was always so helpful to her,” DiSpigno added. “He was just such a great man.”