PEORIA - William Marcus Chinuge of Peoria passed away in the early morning of Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013.
Peoria loses a native son! A gifted athlete, husband, father, grandfather, Bradley Centurion and generous and kind friend to so many folks - he was all of these and more.
Bill was born June 4, 1918, in Peoria, Ill.
Bill recently celebrated his 95th birthday! Bill and his wife, Anne, have lived in a patio home at Hillside Lutheran Village in Peoria for the past 10 years.
He formerly enjoyed living on High Point Lane, nestled in the woods for many years that provided a place to enjoy birds, trees, wildflowers and other wildlife.
He was the son of Anton and Nora Bishoff Chinuge.
Bill's siblings, all of Peoria, include Hannah Chinuge Philbee, Marie Chinuge Wolf, Dorothy Chinuge Hamlin and Leo Chinuge, who have all preceded him in death.
Bill leaves his loving wife, Anne Pattison Chinuge, whom he married on May 23, 1948, and recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Also surviving are Bill's four children, Annette Chinuge of Springfield (husband, Harvey Koplo), David William Chinuge of East Peoria, Nancy Chinuge Carroll (husband, Jeffrey Carroll) of Naperville, Ill., and Karin Chinuge Foster (husband, Steve Foster) of Chesterfield, Mo. His six grandchildren were his pride and joy! He was involved in their lives, and he was able to attend their high school and college graduations. They are Jody Chinuge Koplo (wife, Debra Koplo) of Flagstaff, Ariz., Brandon William Carroll of Brooklyn, N.Y., Christa Brooke Carroll of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Jennifer Anne Carroll Connors (husband, TJ Connors) of Chicago, Ill., Bradley Scott Foster of Los Angeles, Calif., and Jesse William Foster of Chesterfield, Mo.
Bill was born in Peoria and attended Harrison Grade School, Roosevelt Junior High School and Manual High School, where he graduated in 1938. He graduated in 1942 from Bradley University with a degree in education.
Bill participated in sports all through his school years, excelling at track, hurdles, football and basketball. He received several special athletic awards for his record-setting achievements and outstanding performances in sports.
Bill was given the nickname "Rabbit" for being such an outstanding jumper. A.J. Robertson was his favorite coach and mentor.
Bradley University was one of his treasured places, and he remained a loyal Bradley Braves fan throughout his whole life.
Bill also served as president of the Bradley Alumni Association, received the A.J. Robertson Award and was inducted into the Bradley Centurion Club.
His four children donated a Basketball Players Study Library located in Bradley's Renaissance Coliseum in the name of Bill and Anne Chinuge a few years ago.
Bill served in the U.S. Navy for four years after college and was an officer of an LCT ship (Landing Craft Ship). He served as an officer on board an amphibious landing ship during WWII. He began his naval career in Norfolk, Va., spending time in Europe, Ireland, and was stationed in Pearl Harbor when WWII ended.
Bill started his business career working for Sutliff & Case Pharmaceutical Company. He later started Peoria Plastic Company with his trusted and close friend Russ Wendland.
Peoria Plastic Co. was a leading manufacturer of household and Easter novelties where Bill and his partner developed the Fill 'N Thrill brand of plastic Easter egg that has been enjoyed throughout the world. Bill was a member of Plastic Association of America.
His lifelong hobbies and interests were fishing, hunting, gardening, camping and traveling.
He was awarded Field & Stream's largest crappie in Illinois, and enjoyed several fishing trips to Canada, Alaska, the North Pole, Argentina and around the U.S. Bill's vegetable garden was a favorite joy, producing award-winning peppers and tomatoes. He showed his tuberous begonia flowers, winning many blue ribbons at the Heart of Illinois Fair.
He and his wife, Anne, enjoyed traveling around the world with his favorite destination being Slovenia, where his father came from and many relatives still live. He enjoyed discovering his many wonderful family relatives over the years and traveled back to their small villages in Slovenia to visit them. Recently, in September, he enjoyed laughing and visiting with his Slovenian relatives at his granddaughter Jenny Carroll's wedding.
Bill was a member of First Federated Church for over 65 years and served as a deacon there. He enjoyed his friendship with several ministers over the years and the warm congregation.
Our family would like to sincerely thank the caring and kind home care workers who came in each day to help take care of our sweet dad. We are appreciative of the Methodist Hospital Hospice team, Hillside Lutheran Village staff and the pastors who served us with their prayers and love.
Bill will be remembered for his zest for life, enthusiasm for sports, his hard work ethic and his wonderful sense of humor. His attitude of "never giving up," strong spirit and gumption were a model for his children and grandchildren.
A special memorial service celebrating Bill's life will be held at First Federated Church, 3601 N. Sheridan Road, Peoria, IL 61604 on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 11 a.m. A lunch will be served following the service. All are welcome to join in celebrating and commemorating his life. Family and friends are encouraged to bring personal stories and memories to read and share.
We look to God with tears of gratitude for his full and meaningful life.
Memorial gifts can be given in Bill Chinuge's name to: First Federated Church Memorial or Bradley University Basketball Memorial, 1501 W. Bradley Ave., Peoria, IL 61625.
. . . as the buzzer went off in a triple-overtime in Robertson Field House, Bill the "Rabbit" sank an amazing basket and scored the winning points while all the Bradley Brave angels and fans in Heaven cheered - Bill, welcome home!