William (Bill) Jennings Salerno, 85, of Pine Bluff, passed away Tuesday, January 9th, 2024 at United Hospital Center. He was born in Pine Bluff, WV on December 19th, 1938, a son of Tony and Maria Rosa Salerno.
Bill was preceded in death by his first wife Jane and son Michael who died tragically in a fire in 1968 along with a sister Antionette. He was also preceded by 6 brothers, Sam, Patsy, Joe, Albert, Jimmy and Junior Salerno and 4 other sisters, Jennie, Rosie, Gay and Mary.
Bill is survived by his loving wife of 45 years, Martha Salerno of Pine Bluff, WV, five children and ten grandchildren, Toni Williams (Rory) of Covington, LA and children Aubrie Johnson (Gabriel) of Salem, WV and Aliza of Covington, Stacia Talkington (Jason) and children Isaac, Leah, Jude and Eden of East Berlin, PA, Kristen Toth (Brandon) and children Lydia and Braxton of Pine Bluff, WV, Nicholas Salerno (Amber) and daughter Sloane of Bridgeport, WV, William Salerno (Tabitha) and son Hastings of Williamsburg, VA. Bill is also survived by one sister, Polly Costa of Fairmont, WV; sister-in-law, Mary (Cookie) Salerno of Shinnston, WV; brother-in-laws, Tom (Nancy) Moore, Dave (Linda) Davis, Libby (Bud) Hildreth, Bernard (Barb) O’Dell, Minda Shingleton, Linda (Sid) Hickman and Mary (Matt) Osbourn. In addition, Bill had many nieces and nephews that were a very important part of his life.
Bill got his early schooling at the old one-room Pine Bluff School, graduated successfully from Shinnston High School where he met Jane his first wife, and attended Fairmont State College for one year. He received his real-life education and hands-on training working at Salerno Brothers, working with his brothers, since high school. Bill became a highly competent operator of all types of heavy on- and off-road construction equipment. He was a decades-long member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 137 and well known in the region for his expert crane operating skills.
While working at Salerno Brothers, he was involved and worked on numerous major infrastructure projects that provided significant economic opportunity for the local community and region, including the construction of I-79, the Harrison Power Station, and numerous sewer and water projects throughout the region of WV, PA and MD. During this time he also operated a coal strip and stone quarry in the Pine Bluff area that supplied many construction projects throughout the decades. In the mid-90s, he incorporated Bingamon Corp and continued to run the stone quarry and trucking operation, which continued to be a significant contributor to the local community.
Bill became a very well-known business owner in the area and had a reputation for being fair and generous in the local community. He contributed funding, equipment, and services to numerous local community projects and events over the years, including the Shinnston Veterans Memorial, Lincoln football stadium lighting, Shinnston Community Park, and the Annual Turkey Trot, to name just a few.
Bill’s strong work ethic, passion for life and compassion for people were heavily influenced and molded during his formative years as a young man working at Salerno Brothers, working the family farm, proudly serving his country in the US Army during the Vietnam conflict, and enduring the tragic loss of his first wife and young son and raising his infant daughter as a single father for almost 10years with the help of his entire family. Fortunately, Bill then met the future love of his life, Martha Moore, at the Wyatt Market and in 1978 started a new chapter that resulted in 45 happily married years and 4 more loving and talented children.
Bill’s passions were his family and his work. He especially loved being a farmer, putting up hay, and tending to the many horses and cattle he raised over the many years. He became a well-known horseman and cattleman in the area and was known for raising some of the finest Belgian horses, many of which would be sold in the Amish Country over the years. His horses and wagons were a familiar sight in many a Shinnston and Mannington parade and Fairs over the years, something he was always very proud of. Bill was also a faithful member of the Wyatt Union Fellowship.
Family Patriarch, Dedicated Son and Brother, Faithful Husband, Father and Grandfather, American Patriot, Skilled Operating Professional, Successful and Respected Entrepreneur and Businessman are some of the many words you can use to describe Bill Salerno. He will be best remembered for the legacy of a large and loving family that he leaves behind and the many good friends he made and the generosity and compassion he showed many people in the local community over his many years.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to St. Jude Children’s Hospital to 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
Friends and family will be received at Harmer Funeral Home 300 Pike St. Shinnston on Saturday, January 13, 2024 from 4:00PM – 8:00PM and on Sunday from 12:00 PM – 8:00PM. A funeral service will be held on Monday January 15, 2024 at 11:00AM at Harmer Funeral Home with Pastor Chris Shingleton and Pastor Roy Clark officiating. Entombment will follow at Shinnston Memorial Cemetery Mausoleum.
Online memories and condolences may be shared at Harmerfuneralhome.com