William Edward Riordan, born in Yonkers, N.Y. on Nov. 23, 1925, passed away at age 86 on Jan. 31, 2012, at the Freedom Village Health Center in Bradenton, Fla.
He spent his early years in Yonkers, N.Y. but the family moved to Connecticut at the start of World War II where they lived in Easton and Westport. In 1943, Bill joined the Navy and served three years of active duty as a signalman on supply ships sailing to the Mideast, Asia, Australia and Europe where he earned the nickname "Flags."
After the war he attended the University of Connecticut on the GI Bill and graduated in 1950 with a degree in agriculture.
William Edward Riordan
He married Harriet Wash-burn in 1957 and established his own business as a land surveyor in Danbury, Conn. They had two children, Michael and Mary. After divorcing in 1979, he married Zada Merill in 1981. He became actively involved in pro-environment and anti-war causes attending rallies in Washington D.C., New York and Danbury, Conn. He retired in 1989 to become a "citizen's diplomat," traveling to the USSR and working to create improved ethnic relationships locally. In 1998 Bill and Zada became "snowbirds" spending winters in Florida and summers in their self-built yurt in New York state.
Bill loved the outdoors and had a lifelong passion for our forests and wildlife. In his later years he became an international tree climber and taught young and old alike how to climb trees with ropes. Generous and gregarious, he would sing and dance at the slightest suggestion. Bill was a spiritual seeker. Raised as a Catholic, he joined Concept Therapy, Eckankar, and was a fol-lower of "Ram Dass" later in life.
He and Zada joined the Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in 2002 where he was active in the choir.
Bill was preceded in death by his father, Edward, mother Madeleine, and his sister Anita Gross. He is survived by his wife Zada, his children Michael Riordan and Mary Brown, stepdaughter Kathy Noskoff, his grandchildren, Jennifer and Lindsey Riordan, Krystal, Stephany and Jacob Brown, his sister, Mary Allen, his brothers, David and Allen Riordan, and many nieces and nephews.