Published: August 31, 2011
Bill Dowling, 76, a longtime New England antiques dealer, died May 31 at his home. He was born and raised in Paterson, N.J. He served four years in the Air Force and was a consultant with the Sears and Schofield Co. of Sudbury, Mass., prior to becoming a self-employed antiques dealer, trading under the name Antique Handles.
Bill was a well-known figure in the antiques business from the early days of the Norton Market, some 35 years ago, to a long tenure in Brimfield at Quaker Acres. He did many shows throughout the East and all the way to Round Top, Texas. Bill was a talented artisan known for his one-of-a-kind magnifying glasses and walking sticks, selling to some of the finest stores in the country.
In May 2011, Antiques and the Arts Weekly assistant editor Will Demers wrote about the dealer: “Bill enjoyed much success in repurposing turn-of-the-century umbrella handles into bespoke magnifying glasses. With 35 years in the trade, he counts luxury goods retailer Neiman Marcus among his customers. They buy all of his best examples, and sell out each time.”
Bill was known as a strong, charismatic and generous man, and for his kindness to others. He had a quick wit and enjoyed a good joke or story as his eyes twinkled with good humor. He will be missed.
A graveside service was held with military honors at the Memorial Cemetery in Winchendon, Mass.
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