Daniel Francis Bills, passed peacefully on January 9, 2022, at F.F. Thompson Hospital. He was 64. In the hours preceding, he was able to hear the voices of his loving family and many friends. Anyone who knew Danny knows that he left this Earth on his own terms and approached life's next stage with his well-honed curiosity, determination, and humor.
Dan was blessed with a strong family's love that he often tested, but returned in full. He is survived by his mother Virginia (Ginnie), sister Nancy and brothers Patrick "Cud" Bills and Peter Bills. He is survived by four nieces, three nephews, three great-nieces and six great-nephews. Dan is preceded in death by his father Francis and brother John.
Dan was rich in friends. He knew people from all walks of life. He loved sitting down over a beer with an interesting person and weave them into his web of pals. "You don't know so and so? Oh, you've got to meet them!" He'd tell you why and make it happen. He was a generous friend. Sometimes a challenging one, but he never wavered in his loyalty.
Dan was steeped in knowledge. You could text him a photo of a beetle and he'd tell you whether to free it or squash it. He knew things about life science that most professors never learned. He was a naturalist who could dig deep into a subject and explain it in plain English. He followed Naples Historical Society posts because our rural history was important to him. The late Mary Cornish, who taught in Naples, said Dan Bills was one of the brightest students she'd encountered.
Dan was generous. Witty, funny, disarming, yet cynical and sharp when he thought the occasion called for it. He detested pretense and imposters. He loved things that were authentic and real – be it his vintage enameled coffee pot or a 70-year-old bamboo fishing rod he hung on his wall but never cast. He had an eye for antiques that matched his handsome elegance when he decided to spiff up.
Dan loved the Bills Family Farm and was proud that he knew every inch of it. He'd offer a tomato from the garden and scoff if the recipient wanted to wash it before tasting. When the blueberries came on, he'd call his nieces and urge them to bring their kids to pick. He would text you in September and say, "Drive by so you can smell the Concords." He could tell you the weather by listening to the bullfrogs, or predict a storm by watching the clouds and birds. Dan loved Canandaigua Lake – its dramatic topography, ever-changing water patterns, and sneaky lake and brown trout.
Dan never suffered from an "identity crisis." He knew who he was, lived his values, accepted the choices he made and asked that his friends do the same. If Dan had a motto, it might be the quote often attributed to Bertrand Russell: The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. Dan wasn't a fan of today's pace. He wanted people to slow down, to tinker a bit, to wander and wonder a lot. To enjoy a good conversation. To be awed by the cruel beauty of an ice storm or be inspired by his rows of sunflowers at sunrise.
A Celebration of Dan's Life will be held from 12pm - 5pm on Saturday, July 23, 2022 at the Ontario County Park, 6475 Gannett Hill Park Dr., Naples NY 14512.
Those wishing to honor Danny may consider contributing to these organizations: Canandaigua Lake Watershed Alliance (https://www.canandaigualakeassoc.org); Happy Tails Animal Shelter (https://ontariocountyhumanesociety.org); South Bristol Fish and Game Club (http://sbfgc.org).