Less than two months after the unexpected death of board member Tony Sauta, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey has suffered another tragedy.
The trade group announced Monday that AASP-NJ board member William “Billy” Aiello (Ultimate Collision) died Tuesday. He was 47.
“It breaks my heart to see someone like Billy, so full of life with so much to offer,” AASP-NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant said in a statement. “… Billy was witty, funny and quick to make friends, as well as full of knowledge about the collision industry. Those in the industry that knew Billy will miss him dearly on many levels.”
Aiello, an estimator/ repair planner, had just been elected to the board in September 2017. He spent most of his more than 20-year career as a damage appraiser at Lee’s Auto Body before moving to Ultimate Collision late last year.
“Billy had the passion for the industry,” AASP-NJ President and Ultimate Collision owner Jerry McNee said in a statement. “He wanted to be better and learn as much as he could.
“Quite honestly, we all need to take a look at what he wanted to do. Everybody needs to have that drive and enthusiasm that Billy had. He always wanted as much education as he could get, he wanted to learn as much as he could – he was like a sponge. He’d take the information in, and he was looking to put it to good use.”
Ultimate Collision manager John Craggan, who worked with Aiello at that shop and years ago prior to Aiello’s stint at Lee’s Garage, recalled a similar emphasis on education on a Friday Facebook post:
We stayed in touch, as he went from painter into the office as estimator to where he is today an industry consultant, which was one of his dreams .We spoke just about every day, asking questions on how we could become better estimators. Like myself, William took it upon himself to get the education and training so he would be a force in the industry we are both so passionate about. He did that, he made it, he was making a difference and people around the country have great respect for William and his family.
An obituary posted on Chubenko Funeral Home notes Aiello’s “passion for the auto body industry,” as well as his interests outside of it:
He was a man of boundless ambition and relentless energy. He had a passion for the auto body industry, a love for a broad range of music, and he was a huge fan of a wide array of movies and documentaries, specifically conspiracy theories. Billy enjoyed going to concerts, NJ Devils hockey games, and NY Mets baseball games. He loved going out on dinner dates with his wife, traveling to Puerto Rico with his family, and hanging out with his incredible friends. His daughter was his pride and joy and he spent many days sharing with her, his love for music. He had a sense of humor that was sarcastic and witty that was always followed by that signature smile. Billy truly had a zest for life and will be greatly missed.
Aiello is survived by his wife, Kara; daughter, Brooke; son, Billy Aiello Jr.; parents, Phil and Rae; sisters, Dana Clayton and Patty Aiello; and other extended family.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Brooke Aiello Trust Fund at www.actsofkindness.fund or by mail at Acts of Kindness Inc., P.O. Box 1471 Woodbridge, NJ 07095.
“Billy was an unbelievable advocate of the auto body industry,” AASP-NJ Treasurer Tom Elder said in a statement. “He was quite a family man, and just an unbelievable person.
“I really developed a nice friendship with him over the last couple of years, and he represented for me everything I look for in a young and rising person in our industry.”
Funeral services have already been conducted.
Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey, Feb. 5, 2018
Chubenko Funeral Home, 2018
The late Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey board member Billy Aiello is shown in this screenshot from Chubenko Funeral Home. (Screenshot from Chubenko Funeral Home website, www.chubenkofh.com)
The late Billy Aiello, back row, far left, poses with other AASP-NJ board members after his September 2017 election. (Provided by AASP-NJ)