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William E. Royce, 78, Businessman

Started Lightwalkers Church, Morris

William E. Royce

MORRIS – William E. Royce, 78, who owned Royce International Eyewear and founded Lightwalkers Baptist Church, passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 with his loving family by his side.

Bill was born on June 6, 1939 in Pittsfield, and raised by his mother Margaret Royce. He served in the Navy from 1956 to 1960 on the USS Wahoo as a radioman.

On March 23, 1961 Bill married the love of his life Marion (Haggerty), he and Marion lived in Morris for over 50 years, raising their children there.

Bill owned and operated Royce International Eyewear, and in 2007 he opened the Lightwalkers Baptist Church, a place that he could give back to the community, where he felt the spoken truth from the bible could be heard.

In his spare time, Bill could often be found sitting on the sidelines cheering on his children, grandchildren and neighborhood kids during Morris Central School sporting events.

He had been a member of Rotary and a member of the Klipnockie Beagle Club and was an avid fisherman and hunter. He had once served on the Morris Central School Board and began the “no hat policy.” Bill was a very active man and once raced a 70-mile canoe regatta and completed the race.

Above all Bill enjoyed spending time with his family. He especially had a heart full of love for his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Marion; his children, Cheryl (Douglas) Ernst, Valerie Birdsall and Dale (Kellee) Gregory; daughter-in-law Kelly Brigham; 10 grandchildren, Sabra, Seth, Jay, Erica, Josh, Mindy, Shane, Kim, Maggie and Sam; his nine great-grandchildren; two nieces and his best friend Eugene Cole.

He was predeceased by his mother Margaret Royce and his son Jess D. Gregory.

The funeral service was today at Lightwalkers Baptist Church, with Rev Timothy Miller officiating. Burial followed at Hillington Cemetery in Morris.

Memorial contribution may be made in Bill’s name to Lightwalkers Baptist Church, 139 County Hwy 49, Morris, NY 13808. Online condolences may be made to the family at

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Johnston Funeral Home of Morris.


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