William H. Fleischman, 90

OSWEGO, NY – William H. Fleischman, 90, passed away Monday Oct. 11, 2010, at St. Luke’s Health Services surrounded by his family.

Mr. Fleischman was born in Oswego, the third of seven sons born to William and Kathleen (Hollenbeck) Fleischman and husband of the late Theresa (Gallagher) Fleischman.

William H. Fleischman
William H. Fleischman

A lifetime resident of Oswego and communicant of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, he lived a life of honest work and friendship for all he met.

He worked hard at many jobs throughout his life – peddling papers as a young boy on town street corners, delivering tobacco to local drinking establishments, setting pins at the St. Paul’s Academy bowling alley, all before reaching

During The Depression, Mr. Fleischman joined President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, stationed in the Williamstown area, clearing roads and planting trees – work that provided his family with monthly support during difficult economic times.

After his time with the CCCs, Bill went to work at the St. Regis Paper Company as a machinist.

He put his technical skills to work as a radio operator during World War II in the Army Air Corps.

Following training in Chicago, Bill served in the Pacific Theater, assigned to the B-29 Flying Superfortress “City of Spokane” which made 24 successful bombing runs over the Japanese homeland, the 25th made over the U.S.S. Missouri and the signing of the armistice.

Bill and his crew, commanded by First Lt. Donald Barton, received the U.S. Army Air Corps Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for heroism in flight, for their efforts on June 5, 1945 when, after successfully delivering their bombs on the city of Kobe, Japan, they broke formation to escort a heavily damaged B-29 back to their base in the Marianas Islands, defending themselves and the wounded plane from enemy air attack.

Bill and his crew were cited for “cool courage and outstanding skill…and deep devotion to duty…”

Returning from the war, Bill resumed his work at the St. Regis, eventually assuming the position of Business Agent for the members of the Machinists’ Union employed there.

In 1961, Bill and friend, Jim Mancuso, took over the former Burt and Reed filling station on East Ninth and Bridge streets and opened Fleischman and Mancuso’s Texaco.

When Mr. Mancuso left the business a few years later, it became Fleischman’s Texaco until Bill’s retirement in 1982.

During that time, Bill was known for his “service with a smile.”

In a profile published by The Palladium Times in the late 1970s, he was quoted as saying of his town and his business, “I enjoy the people I meet everyday. Many are customers who have been with me all these years. The most gratifying thing is the opportunity to help others.”

In 1948, he invited a local fifth grade teacher, Theresa “Dode” Gallagher, to attend Oswego’s Centennial celebration; the pair had known each other since they had been in St. Paul’s School together.

They were married two years later.

Bill contributed to the early years of Operation Oswego County, founded in 1953, and its economic development efforts for the area to improve the quality of life in the region.

He hosted a radio show on WSGO, interviewing local business leaders.

Bill had many interests and a generous soul.

A passionate golfer who really enjoyed the game, he was also a member for more than 50 years of the Oswego Country Club, where he spent countless hours on its fairways and in its clubhouse and where he enjoyed the friendship and camaraderie of legions.

He was an avid gardener, an interest instilled in him from his work with the CCCs, and an amateur woodworker.

He inherited his mother’s superb cooking skills.

He was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about opera music.

A lifelong supporter of the American Red Cross, Bill received his 10-gallon donor pin and, upon his retirement, began volunteering for the local chapter, frequently driving blood from local blood banks to Syracuse for processing.

He often gave rides to others who were unable to drive themselves, to doctor appointments or just for fun.

He knew the roads of Oswego County like the back of his hand.

In addition to his wife and parents, Bill was predeceased by four brothers: John, Philip, Richard and Frederick Fleischman.

He is survived by his daughters: Jean Fleischman of Milton, Massachusetts and Theresa Russo and her husband, Anthony, of Syracuse.

He is also survived by his two brothers: Arthur Fleischman and his wife, Mary, of Liverpool and Joseph of Minneapolis; his sister-in-law Rosemary Thomas Fleischman of Schenectady; and by several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and two great-grandnephews and by his beloved friend, Inger Stern.

Funeral services will be held on Friday at 10:30 a.m. from St. Paul’s Church.

Burial will be in St. Paul’s Cemetery.

Friends may call at the Dowdle Funeral Home on Thursday from 4-8 p.m.

Friends and family wishing to honor Bill may consider donating to the Central New York Chapter of the American Red Cross, 333 W. First St., Oswego or to the John Foster Burden Fund, St Luke Health Services, 299 East River Road, Oswego.