Bill Creekbaum always had a knack for making people smile. Whether he was offering his never-ending kindness or simply cracking silly jokes, he made everyone’s day at the Cumming Post Office a little brighter.
He had worked at the post office for seven years before he died on Dec. 31 in Gainesville at the age of 86.
Debbie Hill, one of his coworkers, said that everyone she has spoken to at the office said they are going to greatly miss having Bill there to greet them with a smile as they walk in the door each morning. He worked as a service and distribution clerk and as the union steward, always wanting to meet and talk to as many people as he could.
“He’s just an amazing person to be able to work at the post office at his age,” Hill said. “And not only was that amazing that he was able to work — he lived his life to be that age.”
Bill’s son, William Jr., agreed that his dad never wanted to stop working or let his age get in the way of letting him live his life how he wanted.
Bill originally served in the U.S. Army as a radio operator-teletype after graduating from high school in Ohio. He was honorably discharged in 1956, and later earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the Detroit Institute of Technology. He devoted himself to a career in heating and air conditioning, working for several years at Lenox, Dunham Bush, Airon and Mengledorff’s.
After retiring, he decided to head for a new job at the post office.
“He worked all the way up until he passed away,” William said. “And I said, ‘Dad, wouldn’t you like to just hang out more on the boat or just relax?’ And he says, ‘What am I going to do? I enjoy being out with people and talking and the interaction. I’m not going to get that if I stay at home.’”
Bill took advantage of every happy moment he could, even when he was diagnosed with cancer. Hill said that while he was going through chemotherapy, he still came to work every single morning full of excitement.
“This guy — he was something really special,” Hill said.
“One day, he asked the supervisor about leaving early, and in my head I’m thinking well he’s tired,” she continued. “That’s probably the reason he’s asking if he can leave early. It was to go to a Jimmy Buffett concert after work. I don’t even do stuff like that. I’m 54, and when I get off work, I [go] home.”
William said his dad lived for these small moments where he was able to spend time with his friends and with others in the community. He lived in Gainesville for around 35 years, meeting as many people as he could.
He also loved spending his days on Lake Lanier. He even used to spend most of his time on a houseboat on the lake before eventually scaling down to a pontoon boat. Other days, he would spend time with his wife of 20 years, Debi, and his four Maltese dogs, Big Dog, Doodle, Laney and Bibiana.
Along with his wife Debi, Bill is survived by his two children, Sheryl Meade and William Creekbaum, granddaughters Sarah Long, Rachael Webb and Delaney Creekbaum. Eleven months ago, Bill was blessed with his first and only great-grandson, Callan Long.
“He didn’t do anything really amazing — any single thing like being governor or a senator or a big business person,” William said. “He was just a really kind person and good human being. He was a really good father and good role model for me, and I always looked up to him. I don’t know anyone who loved being out with people so much, and I guess it shows because … so many people in the community loved to see him.”