William J. Cleary

July 10th, 2018

William J. Cleary, “Bill”, age 69, of Woburn, passed away peacefully on July 7, 2018, at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA.

Bill was born on June 26, 1949, in Boston, MA; he was the dear son of the late John J. and Loretta (Hodder) Cleary and was raised and educated in Dorchester.

Bill learned his “love of the sea” at age 11 going to sea with his father, a fishing boat Captain. He enlisted in the Navy at 18 and first entered active duty on April 3, 1973 serving as a sub sailor navigator aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. Bill was honorably discharged as a Quarter Master Seaman Apprentice from the U. S. Naval Station in San Francisco, CA and returned home to his family.

Bill earned his sea time as a fisherman working for various boat owners out of Boston Harbor. He spent many years as an Able Bodied Seaman in the Merchant Marines traveling the world, seeing new places, and meeting new people.

Bill had a voracious appetite for learning and continued his education throughout his adult life studying law and philosophy among other subjects. He was very well read and could hold a conversation on just about anything.

Bill went on to become a paralegal for a Maritime Law Firm advocating for fisherman, investigating shipping accidents, and also as a private investigator for a law firm in Beverly.

Bill will be fondly remembered for his unconditional devotion to his family, his kind and gregarious personality, his ability to make friends wherever he went, and his love for children. He always felt most at home camping by the water or going to the ocean.

Bill was the loving partner of Carole McDonough of Woburn, beloved father of Kelly Cleary & fiancé Tom Parker of Weymouth, Cindy Cleary of Cape Cod, Julie Cleary & partner Amjad Hayyat of Vermont, the late Jesse and Jenna Cleary.  Loving “Papa” of MacKenzie “Rosie” Kane, Charlotte “Charlie” Nolan and Finn McDonough, dear brother of Raymond Cleary, John Cleary, Loretta Meade, Louise Harvey, the late Loran Hynes, the late Alice Peary, and the late Francis Cleary. Bill is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, MA, on Saturday, July 14th for Visitation from 2:30-4:30 p.m. immediately followed by a Funeral Service with Military Honors at 4:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers donations in William’s memory may be made to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, 3725 Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring, KY 41076 or


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