June 10, 1949 ~ March 16, 2019

Born in: Victoria, Texas
Resided in: Aurora, Colorado

William “Bill” Louis Ley passed away on Saturday, March 16th at the age of 69. Bill was born on June 10, 1949, 3 months early and 4 pounds, 10 ounces. He was given last rites at the hospital, but God had better plans. Bill grew up in Victoria, Texas, the third of seven children born to John Carroll and Mary Jane Ley.

Bill enlisted in the Army on June 18, 1974. Over the next 21 years, his service took him to Augusta, Georgia, San Antonio, Texas, Honolulu, Hawaii, Wiesbaden, Germany, and Denver, Colorado. He met his future wife, Colleen Suzanne Gallagher, in Augusta, Georgia in 1974. They married in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1976 and gave birth to their son, Michael York Ley, in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1986. For his successes and conduct, Bill was awarded two National Defense Service Medals, six Army Good Conduct Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, five Army Commendation Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, and the prestigious Legion of Merit. Bill retired from the Army with an honorable discharge in April 1995 after serving as the Chief Wardmaster of Evans Army Community Hospital in Colorado Springs and attaining the rank of First Sergeant.

In official reviews, Bill’s commanding officers noted his “unparalleled integrity,” “moral courage,” “commitment to duty,” and “personal conduct beyond reproach.” But, during and after his Army service, Bill was best known for two things.  The first was his big, kind heart. In recommending Bill for the Legion of Merit, his commanding officer wrote that Bill earned a reputation as a “caring and nurturing non-commissioned officer who for two years truly took care of and listened to his soldiers.” The second was his phenomenal cooking. While stationed at the 32nd Combat Support Hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany, Bill would voluntarily wake up the chef to help cook breakfast for hundreds of soldiers. In July 1985, Bill’s commanding officer gave Bill an award for his “culinary expertise” and “willing and volunteering spirit to be a chef.”

After being recommended for a promotion to Sergeant Major—the highest enlisted rank and pinnacle of Bill’s military career—and successfully completing Sergeant Major Academy, Bill knew he was soon to be re-stationed away from Denver. Faced with the choice between career advancement and uprooting his wife and 8-year-old son Michael, Bill voluntarily retired from the Army. He entered private industry in a management role with North American Biologicals and later retired as a Quality Auditor with CSL Plasma. Shortly before he died, Bill said of his decision to retire from the Army: “I miss it every day, but I know I made the right decision. I have no regrets.”

Bill was a devoted Catholic, loving father and husband, loyal friend, servant leader, and selfless family man. In cooking and in life, his portions were abundant and there was always an open seat at his table.

Bill is reunited in death with his mother, Mary Jane Ley, his father, John Carroll Ley, his older sister, Carol Cook, and his younger brother, John Michael Ley. He is survived by his older sister, Doris Orsak, younger sister, Patricia Waitschies, and his two younger brothers, Dennis Ley and James Ley.

He is also survived by his best friend and wife of 43 years, Colleen Suzanne Ley, his 32-year-old son, Michael York Ley, his 32-year-old daughter-in-law, Alexandra Lynn Ley, whom Bill regarded as his own daughter, and his eighteen-month-old grandson who bears his name, Jackson William Ley.  Michael and Alexandra expect to give birth to Bill’s first granddaughter, Ava Constance Ley, in August 2019.

In honor of Bill, a Memorial Mass will be held 10:00am, Wednesday March 27, 2019 at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church (2250 S Harrison St, Denver, CO 80210), reception to follow after service. Graveside Service 1:30pm at Fort Logan National Cemetery, Staging Area “B” (4400 W Kenyon Ave, Denver, CO 80236).


Memorial Mass: March 27, 2019 10:00 am

Most Precious Blood Catholic Church
2250 S Harrison St.
Denver, CO 80210


Reception: March 27, 2019 11:00 am

Most Precious Blood Catholic Church
2250 S Harrison St.
Denver, CO 80210


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  1. My heart goes out to Bill’s family. I had the pleasure of knowing Bill and working with him at both Nabi and CSL. His kindness and integrity was impeccable and my world is a better place from having known him.
    Dennis Lofald
    Duluth, MN

  2. As I read through this page, I am not surprised to see the impact Bill has had on the people in his life. I felt the same. I considered him a mentor and had the pleasure of working with him. He will be missed by our team, but we are all grateful for the time we had with him.
    Sincere condolences to his family.

    Jeff Freeland
    Charlotte, NC

  3. DearColleen,
    My prayers and thoughts are with you in the death of your best friend and husband, Bill.
    God’s loving care, barbi

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