Fistic will o'whisp Billy Speary, busiest and best amateur produced in Luzerne County with an estimated career of 350 bouts, and later a near champion, has been counted out by the Great Referee at the age of 49.
Death came to Speary at Bethlehem, where he resided for 13 years during which the former bantam and featherweight sensation from Nanticoke was an employee of the Bethlehem Fabricating Inc.
One of two boxing brothers, Speary with discovered and developed by Arthur Thomas, former West Scranton resident and manager of Pete Susky. Speary won virtually every A.A.U. title and Golden Gloves version of Simon Pure biffing in the mid-30s.
Whereas his brother Wes retired, Billy, thanks to the reputation achieved by often boxing three and four times a week, instantly stepped into the professional main bout class.
His greatest achievement came in three contests with Harry Jeffra, the featherweight champion, scratch that. Speary won the first bout, via a 10-round decision on November 19, 1940. And overweight clause saved Jeffra's title.
The led to a championship engagement at Baltimore less than two months later, on Jan. 6, 1941. Although Speary registered several knockdowns the 12-round verdict went to Jeffra who also won their third clash, a 10-rounder on Feb. 2, 1942 at Toronto.
Speary who resided at 1252 Manchester Road, Bethlehem with his wife, the former Dorothy Konsevitch, had a history of heart illness. It did not slow his activity as a prominent member and officer
of the Lehigh Valley Old-time Boxers.
Because of Speary's popularity there will be viewing at Connell Funeral Home, Bethlehem, before the remains are moved to Kearney Funeral Home, Nanticoke, Friday. Interment takes place Saturday.
In addition to his wife Speary is survived by two sons, William, Jr., of Hyde Park, New York, and Bruce at home, and two daughters, Anna and Susan. Also three sisters in addition to Wes, a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada.