William A Vessels

January 14, 1936January 4, 2021

William Allen Vessels

William (Bill) Allen Vessels, 84, died on January 4, 2020 at Cypress Village Senior Living Community in Jacksonville, FL.

Bill was born in Gadsden, Alabama. He attended Samford University, and later earned his doctorate in music from Indiana University. He served in the U.S. Army before beginning his career in teaching. Bill was a faculty member at Jacksonville University for many years, teaching voice to a number of students and developing lifelong relationships with several of them. After retiring from JU, Bill served as the Executive Director for the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc.

Bill enjoyed years of traveling throughout the world with his wife Shirley, and he was a dedicated volunteer with the music program for many years at his church, Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

Bill was predeceased in death by his beloved daughter, Paula Vessels, and his parents, Julius and Mozelle Vessels. Surviving family members include his wife, Shirley; his sister Miriam Vessels; and his brother Jim Vessels. Appreciation is offered to Community Hospice for their compassionate care, as well as the many years of friendship and care by members of Southside Baptist Church, especially Dr. Gary Webber.

A virtual memorial service will be held on Friday, January 15 at 3:00 pm, with Dr. Gary Lee Webber, Senior Pastor of Southside Baptist Church, presiding. Those interested in attending can access the service via Facebook. Go to the Facebook page for Southside Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL, and click on the event, “Vessels Memorial Service”. The service will be recorded and posted on the church’s YouTube channel for those not able to view the original service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the music ministry of Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville.


  • A Virtual Memorial Service

    Friday, January 15, 2021


William A Vessels

have a memory or condolence to add?

Robert Edwin

January 23, 2021

My interactions with Bill on the NATS national stage were always more than just efficient and professional. His kindness, sense of humor, and humanity informed our conversations and our work. I remember him fondly and will hold forever good memories of our times together.

Robert Edwin

Mary Joe Howard

January 17, 2021

How very well I remember Bill Vessels! We are almost exactly the same age and since I did all my teaching at Auburn and he, at
Jacksonville State early on, I felt a kinship with him. He was, indeed, a prince of a man, always kind and a most caring teacher and colleague. I know, also, he did a masterful job at the local and national level. I am a better teacher and person for having known and observed him, a most unusual and wonderful person and friend. I shall miss him, simply knowing he is no longer on earth, though Heaven is surely much brighter!
--Mary Josiah Howard

Dr. Charles H. Winslow Winslow

January 15, 2021

I was very fond of Bill, or as we called him, Uncle William. He was, in all respects, a wonderful man. I met him before I met his sister, Miriam, whom I later married and received four fabulous and precocious children. My most poignant memory of Bill, one I have told to Miriam and my children many, many times, has to do with his opera performances. Bill was a baritone and very good on the stage as well. I saw him do Mazeto from "Don Giovanni" four times at the old East Hall at IU Bloomington, and he sang the part excellently. But most memorable was his performance of Nisch in the "Merry Widow". It was the best Nisch in the history of opera, so droll and so appropriate to the music. He came can- canning out with his line of crazy friends during the encore and absolutely brought the house down. He was great, and we will all miss him. Best wishes to his wife, Shirley (from Bergaw) and all those who love him.

Arlene McIntyre

January 15, 2021

When I served on the National Board for the Northwest Region, I was always amazed at his calm approach to any discussion. I am honoured to have met him. He was a fine man.
Arlene McIntyre