William Kistner

Obituary of William Joseph Kistner

William Joseph Kistner led his family for 90 extraordinary years. He was the Kistner, larger than life to all who knew him, proud, entrepreneurial, successful, yet also a caregiver, volunteer, and active in his communities throughout his life. Dad, Grandpa,Poppy, GGPa, Bill, Big Bill… however you knew him, you somehow knew you were lucky to be part of his world. He was blessed to be surrounded by family, even in later years, and passed peacefully with loved ones at his side.

Bill was born October 5, 1932 in New York, NY, the son of Anne E. Hicks. He was raised in a large, tight-knit family in Poughkeepsie, including many beloved aunts and uncles by whom he was predeceased: Otto Kistner, Joseph Kistner, Matilda Kistner, Ustena Kistner, and Mary Evans. Bill would fondly share these memories which so obviously guided his dedication to family throughout the rest of his life. 

While Bill graduated Arlington High School in 1950, it was his freshman year that truly changed his life forever. The day he met Joan Carol Wilde in drama club, he went home to tell his mother that he had met his wife. Yet, while he may have known she was the one from that moment, and spent his high school days carrying Joan’s books home for her any chance he got, sometimes in life these things take time.

At just 18 years old, Bill began work at IBM as a tool maker in the manufacturing department. It was during these early years at IBM that Bill and Joan often shared rides to work with Joe Kistner and Pat Kelly. It was then that Bill and Joan began to grow closer and, as their romance blossomed, they began dating. This time there was no doubt that their love story would be celebrated for generations, though even they could not imagine just how their family would grow back on those youthful nights of dancing and sharing cocktails at the Rainbow Room.

Bill and Joan were quickly engaged, planning their wedding and future together. After their marriage on July 25, 1953 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Bill and Joan purchased a home in Staatsburg and started their family. Bill is survived by his children and their spouses: Deborah Hart, William Jr. and Linda, Michael, Elizabeth and Rick Long, Daniel, and Theresa and Paul Manning; grandchildren: William III and Samantha, Robert and Ainslee, Andrea and Anthony Paonessa, Allison and Marc Pitcairn, Shane Kistner and Tiffany Kuhne, Jessica Young, Stephanie and Lance Mill, Chris Manning, Kayla and Dana Darcy, Ryan Kistner and Emma Lenore-Nelson, and Noah Manning. Incredibly, Bill is survived by eleven great grandchildren, Nolan, Kylee, Luke, Brie, Natalie, Thor, Brooke, Liam, Mason, Maverick, and Josh, with even another on the way!

In his early twenties, with two toddlers and another on the way, Bill packed his family and moved to Kentucky to work in the IBM toolmaker program at the University of Kentucky. As the family continued to grow, and Bill continued to advance in IBM, they moved back to the Hudson Valley. Bill was a jack of all trades, often working second and third jobs to provide for his growing family. He always worked hard and, thanks to this work ethic, Bill excelled in management and ultimately served as the Vice President of Distribution and Transportation for the entire US.

Yet, even as he advanced, Bill did not rest on his laurels outside of work and enjoyed many important roles in the community. He honored his faith in the Catholic Church with service stretching from his time as an altar boy at Holy Trinity to his role as Communicant for St. Magdalen’s in Flemington, NJ, bringing communion to elders and the infirm. 

Bill was a Scout Master for the Staatsburg Cub Scouts guiding young scouts as they advanced in rank. Of course, being Bill, he also spent hours and hours in the basement designing and building pine-wood derby cars that rivaled any the engineering expertise of any other parents out there. Bill also served as the President of the Hyde Park Pop Warner youth football program where he led the efforts to raise funding and oversaw the installation of the first lights at Roosevelt Field. Bill was a member of the Moose Lodge and later, in Flemington, the Knights of Columbus achieving the rank of Grand Knight.

In one of his more tender volunteer roles, Bill served as a volunteer Santa for most of his life. Starting in the 1970’s at the Clinton Firehouse, with his elves Deborah, Elizabeth, and Theresa at his side, Bill would provide decades of magical experiences for young boys and girls. In Flemington, Bill and Joan would collect flash-cards from the parents of the neighborhood, spending hours studying and memorizing information about the boys and girls Santa would be seeing at the holidays to ensure the children fully believed. He even bought his own, personal velvet Santa suit to ensure he carried the proper grandeur the role required. He continued well into his 70’s where he made wishes come true year after year for many children on Martha’s Vineyard, especially his grandson Noah.

Of course, Bill made many friends at IBM and in the greater logistics field and, upon retirement, started Logistics Management Inc. with his colleague and close friend Dick Tempestini. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to several other endeavors, starting and maintaining At The Pump and National Parts, the latter even in his later years.

In Flemington, Bill and Joan enjoyed a rich social life, living in a close neighborhood with many dear friends. However, in 2005 Bill and Joan returned to their roots in the Hudson Valley, building their forever home where they proudly welcomed friends and family to the end. With a large corner lot, their house on the hill shined as a beacon to their adult children, grandchildren, and great grand-children. With plenty of lawn to maintain on his beloved John Deere tractor, Bill and Joan enjoyed their golden years together. 

At the end, his pride in his family was second to none. He loved his children, his grandchildren, and great grandchildren with all of his heart. He loved his Joanie and, upon her recent passing, longed for her. Today, they are together again, continuing to work their magic for all those they cared about. For with Bill, you didn’t have to be family, to be family. He loved all those who were lucky enough to be part of his world, and if you knew him, you knew it.

Services will be held Thursday, September 21, 2023 at Doyle Funeral Home, Poughkeepsie, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Mass will be held Friday, September 22, 2023at Holy Trinity Church, Poughkeepsie, at 10:00 am. Funeral services will follow. The family invites all those who wish to celebrate Bill’s life to Pirate Canoe Club thereafter for repast.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Kistner, please visit Tribute Store


5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Timothy P. Doyle Funeral Home
371 Hooker Ave.
Poughkeepsie, New York, United States

Mass of Christian Burial

10:00 am
Friday, September 22, 2023
Holy Trinity Church
775 Main Street
Poughkeepsie, New York, United States


Calvary Cemetery
LaGrange Ave.
Poughkeepsie, New York, United States