Longtime local resident and former councilman William “Bill” C. Liess, 84, died on Dec. 1.
Liess was involved in many facets of the Township and was a pillar of the community. Born on July 15, 1934 in Teaneck, he was a resident of Ridgefield Park before moving to Little Falls in 1964. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Montclair State College and his master’s in education from Syracuse University. He also studied school administration at Columbia University.
Liess began his career with Clifton Public Schools in 1959, which spanned 43 years, starting first as a history teacher. He then held several administrative roles before serving his last 17 years as Superintendent of Schools.
Liess was committed to public service once he retired and served multiple terms as a Little Falls councilman. He was a former member of Passaic Valley Regional High School’s Board of Education, the Little Falls Board of Education, the Passaic County Senior Services Board and the Passaic Valley Juvenile Conference Committee. He was also President and Vice President of the Little Falls Jaycees, Vice President of the Little Falls Historical Society and Trustee of the Passaic County Historical Society. Additionally, he was President of the U.S. Air Force Academy Parents Association and the Passaic Valley High School Band Parents Association. He was also affiliated with the NJ Association of School Administrators, Phi Delta Kappa, and the NJ Council of Education. He also served on the American Delegation of School Administrators during visits to schools in Moscow and Beijing.
Additionally, he volunteered with Our Lady of the Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church in Little Falls and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Mayor James Damiano commented on his death, stating he was a big influence on his decision to enter politics.
“Yesterday, I was informed of the sad news of the passing of a friend. Bill was critically instrumental in me being a part of Little Falls politics, and now Mayor,” Damiano said. “In fact, it was Bill asking me (for the 4th time) that finally got me to acquiesce and run for Council. With his passing, Little Falls (and Clifton) lost an icon. It was a pleasure having Bill to look to for advice in my early years, and I will miss him telling me how proud he was of me becoming Mayor in this town, so much of which I owed to him. A true gentleman, and one of the kindest people to ever live. He will be missed. Thank you, Bill, for all you did. May you rest in peace.”
Liess was predeceased by his wife Katherine (Livic) Liess, his parents William A. and Margaret (Redding) Liess, and his brother Richard Liess. He is survived by his children Carol and her husband Chris Schweighardt of Augusta, Barbara Liess of Bethesda, MD, and William A. Liess and his wife Andrea of Philadelphia, PA. He is also survived by his brother James Liess and his wife Elaine of Carlstadt. Additionally, he is survived by his six grandchildren, Kristina (Monteforte) and her husband Greg Kushto of Silver Spring, MD; Lindsey Monteforte of Bethesda, MD; Kaitlin Schweighardt of Augusta, Christie Schweighardt of Arlington, VA; William and Ella Liess of Philadelphia, PA. He is also survived by his great-granddaughter Charlotte Grace Kushto.
Interment was at the Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Upper Montclair. In lieu of flowers, contributions are asked to be made to the NIH National Institute on Aging, Budget Officer, Financial Management Branch, Building 31, Room 5C35, 31 Center Drive MSC 2292, Bethesda, MD 20892-2540 or Rutgers University Brain Health Institute, Alzheimer’s & Dementia Research Center (RuADRC), Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, 683 Hoes Lane West, Office 259A, Piscataway, NJ 08854 or brainhealthinstitute@Rutgers.edu
Photo courtesy of Bizub-Parker Funeral Home