March 14, 1995 - April 11, 2018
It would surprise no one who had ever met William V. Peters III that the guy who had worked as a butler and had a degree in hospitality offered drinks and snacks on a table, complete with tablecloth, in his hospital room to the staff at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
"Everybody was overwhelmed by him," said his mother, Barbara L. Peters. "He always had a smile on his face."
Mr. Peters, 23, of Lancaster, died Wednesday of chronic myeloid leukemia in Roswell Park Cancer Institute, after being diagnosed in July, 2016.
"It's been a long, long, hard, rough road for him," his mother said.
Mr. Peters grew up in Lancaster, where he was known as Billy - until he entered sixth grade.
"When he got into sixth grade he became Will," Peters said, adding that the family continued to call him Billy.
He graduated from Lancaster Central High School, where he got his first taste of hospitality and tourism by attending the school's Academy of Hospitality. He also took courses at Trocaire College while still in high school.
He earned an associate's degree in hospitality from Trocaire, and a bachelor's degree from Niagara University's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2017, where he was working on a master's degree. He was an honors student and on the dean's list, and won the Statler Foundation scholarship at both colleges. The dean of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Kurt A. Stahura, is to posthumously award him a master's degree.
Mr. Peters worked as a butler at the Mansion on Delaware Avenue, and he had started working at Hotel Henry. But his illness, which resulted in a bone marrow transplant last fall, prevented him from continuing.
"I called him Mr. Hospitality," said Jeffrey Hirschfelt, who taught Mr. Peters his first college course at Trocaire and is a friend of the family. "It was in his blood."
Mr. Peters, who studied abroad at Modul University in Vienna, Austria, was an accomplished traveler who visited 58 cities in 22 countries.
"Billy has friends all over the world," Mrs. Peters said.
He also loved the outdoors and taking nature walks with friends and exploring nature.
"He would say, 'Do you want to go on an adventure with me?'" Hirschfelt recalled. "He's the light in the room, people are drawn to him. He meets everyone exactly where they are."
Mr. Peters spent much of the last six months in the hospital, but he retained his adventurous spirit, and had planned to go to Paris with his sister. He had a table with a table cloth on in his hospital room, with drinks, cookies, candy and other items that his mother or visitors brought him, offering it to aides, nurses, doctors and cleaning staff alike, she said.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his sister, Maria C. Braven.
A funeral service took place Sunday at Amigone Funeral Home, 8440 Main St., Clarence.