William McNett, Former County Commissioner, Dies at 89
William T. McNett, a retired Commander in the U.S. Navy and former Bradford County Commissioner who remained influential in Pennsylvania politics through his work with the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, died suddenly on August 28. He was 89.
A father of six, grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of four, Mr. McNett was predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Alice (nee Pittman) in March 2014.
Mr. McNett graduated from Mansfield University (formerly Mansfield State Teacher’s College) in 1952 and joined the Navy immediately after graduation. During his 26 years of active duty, he served as a navigator on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Yorktown and operations officer in Danang, Vietnam, during the height of the Vietnam War. As a pilot, Mr. McNett flew seaplanes and multi-turbo prop planes.
In the mid-1970s, when Mr. McNett was stationed at the Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, as the Executive Officer, his wife and three youngest children joined him, and the family traveled throughout Europe. Through his naval career, he held duty stations in Texas, Virginia, California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Viet Nam, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Italy
After retiring from the Navy, Mr. McNett returned to Pennsylvania and made a home in Canton, Pa., where he kept busy with a multitude of part-time jobs, hobbies, church and volunteer work. He was a substitute teacher at Troy High School and Canton High School. When his wife opened a fabric store, Mr. McNett repaired sewing machines for her customers.
In 1987, Mr. McNett was elected to a four-year term as a Bradford County Commissioner, and was reelected in 1991. In 1994, he received the Outstanding Commissioner Award from the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. He remained active in the association for many years and worked to establish a program for counties to obtain affordable insurance.
A leader in his church and the community, Mr. McNett also served for many years as an elder and Sunday School teacher at Grover Church of Christ, and as an interim pastor at Canton Church of Christ. He was a volunteer for Western Alliance Ambulance Association.
William Tubman McNett was born on March 2, 1930, in a farmhouse in Leolyn, Pa., to Samuel McNett and Julia Tubman McNett. The Pennsylvania McNetts traced their roots to the colonial era as descendants of John and Andrew McNitt, who both fought in the American Revolutionary War. (It’s unknown when or why the spelling of the surname was changed.)
A lifelong traveler, Mr. McNett visited dozens of countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia during his time in the Navy. He continued to travel throughout the United States. His most recent journey, along with several of his children and grandchildren, was a trip to Italy in 2019 that included stops in Rome and a return to Sicily.
A gifted public speaker, an avid deer hunter and an amateur historian, Mr. McNett is remembered by friends and family for his knowledge of Pennsylvania and Bradford County history, his penchant for reciting epic poems, and his passion for singing in choruses and barbershop quartets.
Mr. McNett was predeceased by his sisters, Mary Sundberg Moore and Naomi Mosser. He is survived by four sons and two daughters: Lawrence McNett; Geoffrey McNett (Sandy Most); William McNett (Christopher Mallios); Joel McNett (Lauren (Cosgrove) McNett); Julie McNett Wattwood (Robert Wattwood); and Susan McNett.
Calling hours will be from 6 to 9 PM Friday, the 30th at Morse and Kleese Funeral Home, 94 N. Center Street, Canton. A celebration of Mr. McNett's life will take place 11 AM Saturday at the Grover Church of Christ with Pastor Will Strunk officiating. There will be a time of visitation at the church one hour before services. Interment will be in Beech Flats Cemetery (morseandkleesefuneralhome)