William Lavin Obituary, Death – We regret to inform you that William Kane Lavin (“Bill”), a Belle Harbor, New York resident, passed away on Monday, December 5, 2022. Bill passed away peacefully in the arms of his seven children and six-year wife. Bill Lavin was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 23, 1944, to Thomas and Agnes Lavin. Bill, their second son, attended Xavierian High School and St. John’s University (BA ’65; Honorary Dr of Commercial Science ’92). Bill was described by everyone who knew him as a humble man of family and faith, as well as a true gentleman.
His professional accomplishments and contributions to his community and the Catholic Church, however, were immeasurable. Bill began his career in accounting at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Company (now KPMG). He later worked as a senior financial manager for Kennilworth Management Company and J.C. Penney Company. He joined the F.W. Woolworth Company as Controller in 1981 and rose through the ranks to become Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer before retiring in 1994. He was a member of the Finance Executive Institute, the American Management Association, the American Institute of CPAs, the National Retail Foundation, and the CFO Advisory Committee of the Finance Executive Institute. Bill worked as a management consultant and board member for a number of companies after leaving Woolworth’s, including Wall Street Access and Alleghany Corporation, where he also served as Chairman of the Audit Committee from 1994 to 2021.
Bill also served on the boards of several charitable organizations, including HeartShare Human Services, of which he was Chairman of the Board; St. John’s University, of which he was Chairman of the Board; Xaverian High School Trustee; Emerald Society of Long Island, of which he was President (1992-1993); Cathedral Club of Brooklyn and Queens, of which he was Director; and the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, of which he participated in several financial and fundraising committees, including He has been named a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Knight of St. Gregory, Catholic Guardians Society Humanitarian Award, President’s Medal of St. John’s University, and the Eileen and William Lavin Day Treatment Center, to name a few honors for his service to the Catholic Church and his community.
Bill will be the first to tell you that his family is the source of the most pride in his blessed life, despite his numerous professional and community accomplishments. He met Eileen, his life’s love, and they were married for forty wonderful years before she died in 2007. Their seven children are Maureen Sawyer (Scott), Jeanine Zocks (Adam), Trici Broderick (Dave), Billy Lavin (Lisa), Maribeth Gallagher (Peter), James Lavin, and Robert Lavin. Among their 12 grandchildren were Brendan, Meaghan, and Matthew Sawyer; Matthew and Hannah Zocks; Joey and Maribeth Broderick; Liam, Isabella, and Lilyana Lavin; and Peter and Katie Gallagher.
Bill was the proud brother of Tommy Lavin (Donna), Greg Lavin (Cathy), Mary Crerand (John), Patricia Lavin, Peter Lavin (Susan), John Lavin (Christine), Michael Lavin (Susan), and Mark Lavin (Denise), as well as the uncle of twenty-three nieces and nephews and a large number of grand-nephews. Bill was fortunate to rediscover true love with Florence after Eileen’s death, whom he married in 2016. Melissa Murphy (Kevin) and Cristi Keane (John) adored him, as did their nine grandchildren. He was predeceased by his aunt Pauline, mother-in-law Anne Jones, sister-in-law Catherine Battle, nephew Thomas Patrick Lavin, and John Keane, in addition to his parents, Thomas and Agnes.
Bill drew strength from his life of service to family and faith as he faced various medical challenges in recent months with tenacity and acceptance of God’s will. Above all, keep in mind that “the beer is always on Bill.” Bill’s family will receive visitors on Wednesday, December 7th, from 6:00-9:00pm, and Thursday, December 8th, from 2:00-5:00pm and 7:00-9:00pm, at Denis O’Connor Funeral Home. A Christian Burial Mass will be held at St. Francis de Sales Church on Friday, December 9th, at 9:00 a.m.