Bill was born in Keokuk, Iowa, on December 21, 1927 to William H. and Rowena (Capps) Vail. After graduating from Keokuk High School in 1945, he enlisted in the service during WWII, serving in the US Navy for two years.
In 1949, he began working for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. He met Betty Ryan in 1950, and they were married in 1951. During their early years of marriage they traveled while he worked on various bridges in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri.
In 1959 he was transferred to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked as a senior cost estimator. He was transferred to St. Paul, Minn., in 1972, where he continued to work until his retirement in 1983.
After retirement, he and Betty moved to Rush City and lived at Shorewood Park on East Rush Lake. In 2003 they moved to Cambridge, Minn.
During their 60 years of marriage, Bill and Betty were blessed with six children, 10 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. Bill enjoyed fishing, hunting, bird watching, gardening, and golf.
Bill was an active member of the Rush City American Legion Post #93 and the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rush City. He and Betty spent the winter months in Texas, with their many friends.
Bill was a man of few words and great integrity. He raised his family with great love and respect.
Bill Vail is survived by his wife Betty, his children Larry Vail of Columbia Heights, John (Colleen) Vail of Vadnais Heights, Tom (Debby) Vail of North Branch, Sara (Joe) Garvey of Woodbury, Joe (Julie) Vail of Minnetonka, grandchildren; Ryan, Shannon and Patrick Vail, Megan, John and Victoria Vail, Sam and Claire Garvey, Abby and Adam Vail and 10 great-grandchildren.
Bill Vail was preceded in death by his parents, his son Billy Vail, sisters Ethel Abernathy, Mabel Higginbottom and Laura Roberts.
Father Edwin Savundra celebrated a Mass of Christian Burial; Friday, December 30, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with a time of visitation one hour prior to the service at the church.
The interment took place in the Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Rush City with military honors provided by Grothe-Jacobson Post # 6692 and the Rush City American Legion Post # 93.
Honorary casket bearers included Ryan Vail, John Vail, Patrick Vail, Sam Garvey and Adam Vail. Casket bearers included sons Larry D. Vail, Thomas L. Vail, John C. Vail, Joseph P. Vail and son-in-law Joseph F. Garvey.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Funeral and Cremation Service of Rush City; Olson Chapel. www.funeralandcremationservice.com.