William R. “Bill” Ghen, former resident of Melrose and Beverly, passed away on May 13, 2023, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, after a lengthy decline in health. He was 93. Born and raised in Melrose, Bill was the only child of the late Russell C. and Viola M. (Lasky) Ghen. After graduating from Melrose High School, Bill continued his education at Northeastern University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and was elected to membership in the Eta Kappa Nu honor society. During the Korean War, he enlisted and served with the Army National Guard.
Over the years, Bill was employed as an electrical engineer at Bomac Laboratories in Beverly, Raytheon Company, Metcom in Salem, and at Varian Semiconductor in Gloucester, where he remained until retirement. He made many good friends during his time at Varian and enjoyed pizza dinners with former coworkers long past his retirement date.
In 1952, Bill married the late Edythe (Solberg) Ghen, also of Melrose, with whom he shared 50 years of marriage. The couple settled in Beverly where Bill enjoyed boating and lobstering in his spare time. Some of Bill’s lobsters were sold to local restaurants, while others were generously shared with family and friends. Bill was a long-time member of the Jubilee Yacht Club and taught boating courses for the United States Power Squadron. His yearly vacations were spent boating on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, where he was always ready to captain the boat for waterskiing or cruise to the other side of the lake to watch fireworks.
Bill’s other passion was gardening, which he enjoyed since childhood. As a boy of 12, he began to earn spending money by harvesting strawberries for a local farmer each year. Later, during World War II, he spent hours working in the family’s backyard victory garden. Wherever he resided, Bill could usually be found gardening and landscaping in the yard. His holly trees were legendary, and friends looked forward to decorating their homes for the holiday season with arrangements of pine and holly gathered from Bill’s yard. In his later years, Bill spent many happy hours splitting and stacking logs for his fireplace. He was well-known for following tree removal crews around Beverly, happily carrying off whatever wood they didn’t want.
Bill also held memberships in the Guild of Beverly Artists, the First United Methodist Church of Hamilton, and the Vasa Order of America — both Spiran Lodge in Rockport and Birka Lodge in Hamilton. He was a friend to all and will be greatly missed.
Bill is survived by two children — daughter Karen Tormey and husband Stephen of Peabody, MA, and son William R. Ghen, Jr. and wife Diane Boden of Myrtle Beach, SC. Grandchildren are Alan Tormey and wife Destinee of La Jolla, CA, Heather Sweeney and husband Sean of Haverhill, MA, Michele Hazut and husband Chris Brey of Scottsdale, AZ, and Barbara Price and husband Paul of Fresno, CA. Great-grandchildren are Seren Tormey, Ryder Sweeney, Joseph Price and Vera Price.
The family has chosen to honor Bill’s request that there be no services. The interment will be in North Beverly Cemetery.
Gifts in honor of Bill may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverley Oaks Rd, Waltham, MA 02452. For online tribute, visit www.RobinsonFuneralHome.com