Bill Povandra

“Come Fly The Skies With Bill”
Words and music by Marianne Fridell
with Mrs. Bakeberg & Mrs. West’s 5th Grade Class
©2005 Marianne Fridell


      Bill Povandra

I was born a two pound baby. The doctor didn’t even think that maybe
I’d make it. So he gave up on me.
But I was a baby. What could I say? I checked out the world and it looked ok.
I fooled that old doctor and I lived anyway.

My dad helped me put my first engine in, a Model-T Ford from 1919.
Building things is my inspiration.
Now my son Brian and I have fun making vintage cars shine and hum.
A family tradition that crosses generations.

Come fly the skies. We’ll fly so high.
In a Cessna or Koala Cub we’ll view the mountains from above.
When you ride a dollar Harley these curves and swerves get really gnarly
So chug along with Shirley and me in our bumpy old model-T.

I met a gal at the Bark and Bubbles. I knew right away that she spelled trouble.
She took my heart and made me say ‘uncle’ to love.
But I was a fella, what could I say? I checked out that girl; she was more than okay
Now she gives a push when the model-T needs a shove.

I remember a day in chemistry lab (in the very same room where we have our class)
A little experiment got me into a jam.
I mixed up a stinky, rotten egg mess. Not on purpose of course, but I confess
It smelled so bad everyone in the school had to scram. (chorus)

I’ve been a pilot for Search and Rescue and the Civil Air Patrol, too,
My plane flies high to the stratosphere
I put bright red and silver stripes on my Cessna so it wasn¹t just white
Because in a snowstorm, that plane would disappear.

I know a lot of people in these Hills and most of them call me Officer Bill.
I was a policeman in Spearfish for 22 years.
Ambulance driver and fireman I¹m ready to give a helping hand
If I can help somebody out, that’s why I¹m here. (chorus)

On August 24, 1943 a tiny baby boy, of Bohemian nationality, was born at the Homestake Hospital — Lead, SD, the only son of Mable and Charles Povandra. Bill only weighed two pounds eight ounces, but was determined to survive. And what a survivor he has been.

Bill has spent all his life here in Spearfish. Attending the first kindergarten class Spearfish had in 1949. His grade school years were at the Spearfish Lab school, and he graduated from Spearfish High School, right here, in what we now call East Elementary. (Mr. Povandra’s chemistry classroom was our 4th grade classroom on third floor.)

After graduation in 1961 Bill joined the National Guard and served for 8 years. Bill began work at the Homestake Mining Company Lumber and Timber Department in 1961 where he worked until 1980 when it burned down.

Bill met his wife Shirley at the Dogs and Suds Drive Inn. They married in 1965, almost 40 years ago. Shirley and Bill spent many years being foster parents. Family is important to Bill. He and Shirley have one son, Brian who is a firefighter/paramedic with the Rapid City Fire Department. His mother still lives next door and Bill is always there to help her out. Mr. Povandra stated that losing his dad when his own son was so young was a “tough deal”.

Mr. Povandra spent five years with the police reserves and 22 years as a full time policeman in Spearfish, before retiring in 2002. During his years with the police force he was known as Officer Bill. Officer Bill was given a plaque displaying all of the badges he had during his years of service.

Mr. Povandra was the first motorcycle policeman in Spearfish. He still likes to ride his Honda on a nice day.

Bill is still an active fireman with the Spearfish Volunteer Fire Department serving since May, 1970.

Bill and his family enjoy traveling, (we wonder if there is a place they have not been!) We are also quite proud to say we now know someone who shook hands with Elvis, and has met two presidents.

Mr Povandra told us his most prized possession is his airplane, a 1958 Cessna 172. Oh how he loves to fly. We are quite sure that another love of his is restoring old antique cars, like the 1909 Model T he brought to school to show us. He is currently having a building built to house his car collection so he can share it with all who would like to see. Although he is a self confessed FORD man we believe he would restore anything with wheels and a motor.

Officer Bill is well known in the area not because of fame or fortune but because he has always been there to help a neighbor in need. His jobs, his free time and his family time are an inspiration to us to reach out, help out and do our share!

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