The world just became a little less smart, a little less bright and a whole lot less fun with the passing of prominent Coral Gables attorney William S. Reese, Esq., founding partner of Lane, Reese, & Summers, P.A. His laughter was infectious, his work ethic beyond reproach and his cheerful disposition so very rare. “If anyone can convince me being in a bad mood will make me feel better, I’ll try it,” was the motto he lived by.
Born in West Virginia on May 24, 1949, Bill moved with his parents to Coral Gables as a young boy where he grew up and later attended Duke University, graduating cum laude in 1971 and still later graduating with his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Florida in 1974. Regarded by his peers as one of the top trial lawyers in Florida, Bill was named by ‘Florida Trend’ as among the Florida Legal Elite and one of Florida’s Super Lawyers. One of his most high-profile cases was covered by ABC’s 20/20 and televised on Court TV. He was national counsel for the Boy Scouts of America, and had a host of notable clients. Bill was also a member of the American Bar Association (Chairman, Non-Profit Organizations Committee, Tort & Insurance Practice Section, 1996-1997), Dade County Bar Association (Director 1984), and holds the AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability.
Outside of the law, Bill was named one of the 12 Good Men from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Florida; the recognition given to leading men with a history of outstanding community involvement, civic service and involvement throughout the state. Bill also supported a variety of organizations including the American Red Cross, Chapman Partnership for the Homeless, American Cancer Society and Young Patronesses of the Opera.
Most importantly, Bill met the love of his life, Barbara Devereux, on a blind date set up by their parents. He convinced her to marry him on November 5, 1977 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church here in Miami. The quintessential wife, Barbara is that brilliant light that Bill always carried with him making most of the aforementioned accomplishments possible. Together they discoed their way from here to Italy’s Amalfi Coast making dance floors everywhere shutter at thought of their arrival. His twirling of his dance partners should have been patented and it was advised that taking Dramamine before stepping on the floor with Bill was a good idea. Another love was golf, and he loved playing with his foursome that he affectionately named “The Blazer Boys.” Two hundred and seventy yard drives were not uncommon - some even finding the fairway. Sand traps and his putter were often unkind to Bill, but persevere he would. Aside from being a member of the Riviera Country Club, he also enjoyed the Cotillion Club, his membership to the International Wine and Food Society, membership in the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin-Miami, and membership of the Benedicts.
Rounding out Bill’s life came in a couple of special packages: Michele and Marguerite; two incredible daughters that have only brought joy and pride to this remarkable man. When talking of either of his girls, Bill’s smile could only be measured in miles. He adored his family, only joking that three girls against one man seemed a bit unfair. The truth be known, he was their rock and was generous to a fault with not only his family but everyone around him. His aura shown bright and once in a room, the place would light up without flipping a switch.
Bill loved to laugh, live and enjoy everything about life. Caring, hardworking, generous, smart as a whip, encouraging and especially LOVE are just a few words to describe this terribly missed man. He fought the good fight against his cancer for three years and never once complained. He lived well and he lived right. After reading this, celebrate Bill’s life with a toast and a few fun stories. That would make him happy.
William S. Reese is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Barbara Devereux Reese, daughter Michele Adams Reese, her fiance Christopher Raymond Granger, daughter Marguerite Stuart Reese, her fiance Brendan Michael Clifford, brother Stuart Cairns Reese, sister-in-law Robin Riane Reese, nephew and godson Adam Stuart Reese, niece and goddaughter Aden Cairns Reese, nephew John Francis Reese, niece Riane Roehl Reese, sister-in-law Mary Christine Walker and brother-in-law Michael Anthony Walker, and nephew and godson Adam Devereux Walker.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society. A wake will be held Sunday, July 15, 2018 from 6-8 p.m. at the Van Orsdel Funeral Chapel at 4600 SW 8th Street, Coral Gables, FL 33134. A funeral will be held Monday, July 16, 2018 at 1 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church located at 5690 N. Kendall Drive, Miami, FL 33156.