Good-bye, Bill

William B. DeVilleLast Saturday our oldest employee and close friend, William B. DeVille, died at the age of 85.

Bill joined our company in 2005 at the age of 73, applying with the words “We have a very long lifespan in my family”. In uncountable forum posts and support tickets he helped our customers getting started with our products and find creative solutions for their problems.

In his professional career Bill studied chemistry at the Louisiana College in Pineville, LA, USA, and worked at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. This expertise in the fields of science predestined him to give advice to students, educators, and researchers alike.

After both his daughter and his wife had died, Bill moved from Baton Rouge, LA, to a log cabin in Nashville, IN. There he lived and worked together with his dogs Tippy and Oliver. His favorite workplaces were his computer counter at the cabin, not far from the always-on coffee machine, and a gazebo overlooking the forests of Brown County. Bill never missed Catfish Friday at Brownie’s Family Restaurant in Bean Blossom.

We’ll miss Bill as a good friend and as part of our company.

Oliver and Tippy, Bill's dogsSales & Support meeting at Brownie's Family RestaurantIndian summer in Brown County, IN

Left to right: Bill working at his computer counter. Oliver and Tippy, Bill’s dogs. Sales & Support meeting at Brownie’s Family Restaurant in Bean Blossom, IN. Indian summer in Brown County.

32 Responses to “Good-bye, Bill”

  1. Stefanie says:

    That are really sad news today!

    Farewell Bill!

  2. David says:

    He sounds like he was a lovely guy and I’m sure he’ll be missed. I hope someone’s going to look after his coworkers, Tippy and Oliver, who’ll miss him too!

  3. Mio says:

    My condolences. He was an active contributor to DT forum. May he rest in peace.

  4. @ David: Yes, he was. And his coworkers have already found a new home and job.

  5. Ralph Elliott says:

    You have my condolences. Bill helped me several times over the years. He will be missed.

  6. Andrew-Bede Allsop says:

    He will be much missed as his contributions were always helpful and interesting. My prayers are with him and those he loved.

  7. Erwin Panen says:

    My condolences.
    It makes us realise how small we are on the scale of life..
    Glad to learn personal details today. I wish I would have familiarised myself earlier.
    I can only encourage to allow for more personal familiarity. For me it enriches and makes me relativate a lot of what’s happening in this world of increasing speed.

    Thank you Bill for all your help!

  8. Andy says:

    Rest in Peace Bill – never met you, but felt like I did. A key figure on the forums and evangelist for DT who helped many.

  9. Scott Lougheed says:

    This is very sad news! Always appreciated Bill’s very helpful posts and support responses.

    He will be deeply missed around these parts.

  10. A.Customer says:

    Thank you for sharing a brief synopsis of Bill’s story as well as the photos. Seems like a great guy.

  11. Ulrich Haas says:

    Lieber Herr Böhnisch-Volkmann,
    herzlichen Dank für den wundervollen Nachruf an Ihren Freund und Kollegen Bill. Es tut gut, von Zeit zu Zeit auch etwas über die Menschen “hinter den Bits & Bytes” zu lesen…
    Mit herzlichen Grüssen aus dem frühlingshaften Freiburg…

  12. Robert M. Potter says:

    Dear Eric,
    I did not know Bill well, but when he and I chatted, his patience and calm made the worst problems seem small. I’m glad that you allowed him to “hang his Hat” at your company. A lot of older guys feel really lost without something to get our mind engaged, and that he could stay at this cabin and enjoy his companions Oliver & Tippy and sunsets. Life is the journey, not a destination. I know your company was made much richer because of him & he will be missed.
    Best regards and wishes,
    Robert M. Potter

  13. Pete S says:

    Very sad news. Thank you Bill.

  14. Bob says:

    Lovely piece. Nice to picture him typing in the cabin when I read his replies now which will live on in the Forum.

  15. Peter Norman says:

    I have long appreciated the help Bill provided in the forums but mostly I admired his writing style.

    Thank-you for letting us know and providing the photos.

  16. Very sweet. The good do die young, and Bill was clearly young!

  17. GG says:

    Rest in peace, Bill! Your pace, at this age, was unbelievable (I read your posts long before knowing your age!), and your posts were focused, informated and to the point. And you always stayed polite, even when facing many a forum hot-head. If I can half as much in 35 years, I’ll be happy.

  18. P Roy says:

    My condolences to the DT team. Bill will be missed.

  19. Tom N. says:

    I learned of Bill’s passing on web site. I am a relatively new user to DEVONTHINK and constantly amazed at the depth of the product line. Reading Bill’s bio inspires me. He JOINED the DEVONTHINK team at 73? I’m a paltry 63 for another half year. Rest in peace Bill. I still have time to learn something after all!

  20. @Tom N.: Yes, Bill joined the team at 73. The perfect example that it’s never to late to begin something new.

  21. Terry S. says:

    I have just this minute finished reading one of Bill’s description of the nuances of “backups” from a post of his in 2015. I’d salted it away in my DtPO database where I have literally dozens of threads that help me learn more about this wonderful app. Many, so many are from Bill’s keyboard.

    We are the poorer without him but are much richer for having spent hours learning from his down to earth explanations and his accumulated wisdom.


  22. Rick says:

    Rest in Peace Bill. You helped me out several times. You were always there. Thank you. R

  23. Steve says:

    WOW – Now THAT’S how I’d LOVE to spend my days, and it just goes to show that you CAN get a work-life balance just right!

    Well Bill, you sound like you were a truly amazing guy – I guess you must be if you made me and so many others stop to write this and wish you well! A life well lived. Good on you Sir x

  24. June says:

    Very sorry to hear this. I loved the comments I received from Bill DeVille when I wrote to Support. He always solved the problem. Hope his dogs will have a new, loving home; big loss for them!

  25. Kithairon says:

    Sorry to learn about Bill. He was an inspiration and a great help to me. I love his “kludges” and the many thoughtful and highly practical posts – in fact, I have a number of Devon entries on how to better use Devon that consist of chunks of his forum posts. He’ll be missed – Farewell Bill.

  26. Cleo Huggins says:

    I just purchased DevonThink personal and found the notice about William DeVille’s passing. I love that you guys weren’t afraid to hire someone older and that you gave him an opportunity to connect with the world and help people while living in a beautiful place. I’m really happy to know that by purchasing this product today I am supporting a company with great values.

  27. Tod says:

    Like all of us, I first “met” Bill through his very helpful responses to my DTPO new user questions over nine years ago. At one point, I noticed that his avatar listed his location as Brown County, Indiana.

    Since we lived in Bloomongton, I sent Bill a private message mentioning that I was just 20 mikes west and would he like to meet for coffee or lunch sometime.

    He introduced me to Brownie’s and their Friday special “All U Can Eat Catfish.” Over the years we’ve enjoyed each other’s company at least once a month, chatting about all things Apple, commenting on current events, and sharing stories of our younger days.

    Bill was a unique person with a wealth of knowledge and experience, and who enjoyed sharing with others.

    I feel honored to have known Bill as a friend and teacher.

  28. Jy-Yun Jung says:

    His answers to questions in the forum were always helpful to me.
    I would miss him.
    Rest in peace Bill.

  29. Alex says:

    I’ve been a lurker on the forum for years, and found myself saddened by this news. I think Bill has and will continue to be a model of how to conduct myself online.

    My condolences to all who knew him.

  30. Bob M. says:

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your good friend and colleague, Bill.
    Also, the inspiring story of how Bill lived his life.
    Happy trails, Bill.

  31. Joe Lafferty says:

    Very sad news, I only interacted with Bill a few times on the forum, but found him immensely helpful and valued his posts in response to others struggles with the programme and its functionality. I had no idea he was 85! Thanks for letting us know. Thoughts and prayers with his family and colleagues.

  32. Frank Ball says:

    Bill was so helpful to me, and I’m so saddened to learn today of his passing. As someone fairly near his age, I count his counsel and problem-solving responses to my questions as totally from a different time and place. I had no idea of his history. Turns out we grew up very close to each other — he in Louisiana, myself in East Texas. Even more, I did graduate school in Theatre at Indiana University and directed my thesis production at the fabled Brown County Playhouse in Nashville, IN — Bill’s choice of a place to relocate in his “retirement”. So sorry I didn’t connect all these dots until now; no wonder he resonated so with me, and that he was so very, very helpful. I’m echoing the sentiments of Cleo Huggins and other posters who praise your company for the vision and courage to hire an older worker; clearly that has benefitted us all.