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William George, 90, longtime owner of area kennel

Nov. 2, 1928 - Feb. 11, 2019

William “Bill” Benjamin George’s lifelong love for animals set him on career path that spanned four decades and inspired him to pursue numerous hobbies. He operated a kennel for more than 40 years, raised English setters and golden retrievers and trained bird dogs to compete in multistate field dog trials.

He died Monday after a brief illness in his Clarence home surrounded by family. He was 90.

Born in Amherst, Mr. George attended Tonawanda High School. He served in the National Guard and worked at Spaulding Fibre in Tonawanda.

In the early 1950s, he founded Billy George’s Kennel where he looked after dogs, cats and other animals. His family wasn’t surprised by his career decision; as a boy, he confidently informed his mother he would someday own a “kitty farm.” He retired from the kennel in 1991.

In addition to his kennel pursuits, he raised pheasants and quail for release on his Clarence farm.

He also enjoyed traveling with his family. When his five children were younger, they would pack into a camper and explore historic sites along the eastern coast.

In retirement, he and his wife, the former Bernice Jean Frye enjoyed trips to Hawaii and the Southwest.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Dorene Dibble and Michele Ratzel; three sons, William Jr., Timothy and Michael; nine grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.

A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Friday in Faith United Church of Christ on Maple Road in Amherst.

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