EXNER, William Metz "Bill"
William Metz "Bill" Exner died February 17 at his home, after a short illness. He was 92 years old. Bill was born May 2, 1929, in Chicago; his parents were William McKinley Exner and Elizabeth Ann Metz Exner. Bill was the oldest of their 5 children. Bill attended a one-room schoolhouse as a young boy, and then he went to Downers Grove High School, where he was on the football and wrestling teams. After graduating from high school, Bill decided to enter the University of Georgia to study agriculture, which had always been an interest, instilled in him by his father. He joined Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, and during his summers, he was employed by International Harvester, modeling for their advertising. Pictures of Bill sitting on tractors and in trucks were included in many periodicals during the 1950's and 1960's. While at the University, he met a young lady at a dance, and they became engaged. After Bill received his degree, he and Fran got married on March 17, 1952. He took his bride back home to Illinois, where Bill began working at Argonne National Chemical Laboratories. Finding a love and a talent for teaching, he also began teaching science at Lemont High School. Four children: Michael, Eric, Jane, and Craig, were born to Bill and Fran in Illinois. Bill's ambition to have a farm had not left him, and in 1963, he moved his family to Newnan. He began teaching science at Campbell High School in Fairburn, becoming the department chairman there. He received a Master's Degree in Science Education from West Georgia College. He also enjoyed his "gentleman's farm," gardening and raising cows and horses. The whole family enjoyed the country life! Bill knew the value of plants and trees, and he was a visionary; he and the children planted thousands of seedlings on their property over the years. Later on, he created a large pond, where the family enjoyed fishing, swimming, and camping. Bill's goal was to nurture his environment, and he and Fran created and walked miles of trails. Bill also planted fruit trees and blueberry bushes, which the family has enjoyed for years. In 1977, Bill and Fran bought the Newnan Florist, a successful business in the community for over 35 years. Bill retired from Fulton County Schools in 1987, after 30 years, and he and Fran managed the Florist together, aided by his brother Jerry, and other members of the family. Bill joined the Kiwanis Club of Newnan, and he also found time to travel, especially with the Elder Hostel; his favorite trips were to China, Costa Rica, Europe, and Russia. Bill loved to talk to people and learn from them; he made friends all over the world. After closing the Florist, Bill retired-again-in 2012, and they settled down on the farm to enjoy his family. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren loved to visit "Papa," to listen to his stories and play with the various vintage toys he loved to accumulate. Bill was a loving and generous man who cherished learning and teaching all of his life, influencing his 3 sons to become educators. No one left the Florist without a flower, and no one left his house without a book, an article, or a suggestion about a movie or television show to watch. Bill served in the Army National Guard of Illinois, and he was proud to have two sons and a grandson who also served or are serving in the military. In addition to his wife, Fran, Bill is survived by his children: Michael (Jill), Eric (Joan), Jane (Bob) Schnetzer, and Craig (Josie), all of Newnan. He also has eleven grandchildren: Ansley (Adam) Dennis, Erin (Ricky) Walker, Patrick Exner, Emily Exner, Ryan (Jessie), Schnetzer, Matthew Schnetzer, Jenna (Thomas) Darrah, Madison Exner, August Exner, Zane (Audrey) Exner, and Eliza Exner. He has eleven great-grandchildren, with another one due in March. Bill professed his faith in God and is in heaven with loved ones. On March 17th, Bill and Fran would have celebrated 70 years of marriage. A private family gathering is planned. In honor and in memory of Bill, plant a tree; build a bluebird box; give generously with no thought of return; hug a child; love life's adventures. Condolences may be expressed online at www.mckoon.com McKoon Funeral Home & Crematory (770) 253-4580.