William (Bill) Dreisbach passed away 29 December 2018 at the age of 84. He was born and grew up in Allentown, PA, graduated from Allentown Catholic High School, spent four years in the Air Force and completed studies at The Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics. He worked for Eastern Airlines for 30 years and served as a volunteer fireman in Fayette County, GA. He is survived by his wife Trudy with whom he celebrated 54 years of marriage, his daughter Mary Dreisbach Kitchens and his son John Dreisbach, their partners, children and grandchildren as well as his brothers Karl and Phillip and their wives, and many nieces and nephews.
Bill Dreisbach was interested in family history and genealogy. His research space in their home in Fayetteville, GA was legendary. According to his wife Trudy he had a large table in the cellar which was always covered with his research projects. Dreisbach history was a primary field of inquiry for Bill, but the Fenstermacher family, widespread in eastern PA, also had its place on Bill’s table, for his mother was Anna Elizabeth Fenstermacher.
Bill met his distant cousin, Father Charles Dreisbach, in the early 1990’s. Soon thereafter they began planning for a 1995 Dreisbach reunion to be held north of Allentown. From the beginning Bill was involved. Fr. Charles later reminisced in a 2010 text: “Bill D. was a great help. He had lots of ideas and had grown up in the Allentown area.”
Bill, though living in Georgia, was an expert on Dreisbach burials in cemeteries in the Lehigh Valley and north of the Lehigh Gap. A little-remembered aspect of Bill’s contribution to the 1995 reunion was the material he prepared for reunion participants: 12 hand-written pages with driving instructions to at least 12 area cemeteries where Dreisbachs were buried, including instructions on where the Dreisbach gravestones could be found!
A major result of that first reunion was the publishing of The Dreisbach Book in 1997. Not only did it contain a 50-page history of various Dreisbach lines, but the major part of the book consisted of descendant listings of the Dreisbach lines as known at that time. A great deal of that descendant information came from Bill Dreisbach. And yet, among the many names appearing in the four columns of contributors, Bill’s name was absent. There was a reason. At the reunion Bill had been elected President of the newly revived Dreisbach Family Association. His name now stood first, with the book’s three editors, in expressing thanks to all contributors. The book stands as a monument to Bill’s fact-finding and his generous readiness to share Dreisbach/Dresbach family history.
The funeral for Bill took place on January 5, 2019 with full military honors by the United States Air Force. He will be missed by all who knew him for his spirit and his work for the Dreisbach/Dresbach Family Association.
(L to R)Bill, brothers Phillip and Karl
Bill, Trudy, John and Mary
Bill and Trudy
Click on the word "NEW" to be taken to that topic.
NEW:Read a short story about the life of Elizabeth Dreisbach Waldman, the wife of John Dreisbach (1735-1796). This was first presented as a play at the 2010 DFA Reunion in Tohickon, PA.
NEW: "The Hoffman Family - A Tale of Moving Up and Moving Down" This March 2017 issue of the DFA Newsletter is about the ancestors of Anna Eva Hoffman, born in 1722, who became the wife of Martin Dreisbach.
Meet two of the people who work hard to make the D/DFA a great organization!
Simon Jr was the most intellectual of the 5 sons of Simon Dreisbach Sr. Born in Wittgenstein, Germany in 1730, he arrived in Pennsylvania as a 13 year old. He went to work in a tannery and learned a trade he was to follow for the rest of his life.
Simon Jr was instrumental in founding Zion Stone Church in Kreidersville, PA. He was a devoted Patriot during the Revolutionary War. He served on the the Pennsylvania Constitutional Conference in 1776 and put his signature on Pennsylvania's own Declaration of Independence and its own Bill of Rights. By doing this he risked forfeiting his personal fortunes and possibly his life if England should put down the revolution.