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William R. Sands

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William R. Sands Obituary
Sands, William R.

Bill Sands, 80, passed away at his home in Naples, Florida on July 1, 2014, after a short illness. He was born on July 12, 1933, in L'Anse, Michigan, the son of William and Minnie (Peterson) Sands. He graduated from the L'Anse High School in 1951. Following graduation, he worked with his dad in the Central Food Store and for several years he also worked as the projectionist at the New Mazda Theater. In 1953, he enrolled at Northern Michigan College of Education. In the summer of 1954, he went to Detroit to get a summer job to help pay his education expenses and accepted a position with the Detroit Bank & Trust Company (now Comerica). He remained in Detroit for 14 years. At age 32 he became the youngest person to be promoted to Branch Manager. In Detroit, he attended the Detroit Institute of Technology, Wayne State University and graduated from the American Institute of Banking. Later, after moving to Wisconsin, he graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

On February 5, 1955, he married Darlene H. Hill of Alston, Michigan. They lived in the Detroit area for six years and then purchased a home in Livonia, a suburb of Detroit where they lived until they moved to Wisconsin.

Following the 1967 Detroit riots, the family moved to Appleton, Wisconsin. In June of 1968, he accepted a position as Vice President and Cashier of the Northern State Bank. He worked in Appleton, Wisconsin for 25 years, retiring in March of 1993. At the time of his retirement, he held the following positions: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Valley Bank, the lead bank in Valley Bancorporation, Senior Vice President of the Valley Bank Service Company and President of the Valley Northern Bank.

He was a Kiwanian, twice receiving the Kiwanian of the Year award. He was a Rotarian Fellow. He was the Chairman of the Advisory Board of The Salvation Army, and was instrumental in starting the feeding program there; Treasurer of Appleton Youth Baseball, and President of Appleton Little League, where he started the Girl's Little League program. He helped raise funds to start baseball in the Appleton High Schools and to start the Pop Warner Football program. He received the "Red Smith" award for his work with youth sports.

He was twice president of the American Institute of Banking, and taught banking and finance courses in both the Appleton and Oshkosh Vocational Schools. He also taught banking courses through the Wisconsin Bankers Association at St. Norbert's College in De Pere, Wisconsin.

He was active in professional baseball. He was on the board of directors of the Midwest League, which is made up of all minor league teams in the mid-western states. For several years, he was the president of the Appleton Baseball Club (now known as the Timber Rattlers), which at that time was a minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. He was affiliated with the Chicago White Sox during the Bill Veeck era, and often said that working with the legendary Bill Veeck was an adventure few have had the opportunity to share. He worked with many minor league players, many of whom reached the major leagues.

In politics, for several years, he was the treasurer for Wisconsin's 8th District Congressman.

He loved the outdoors, with travel and fishing as his great passion. He traveled through most of the U.S. including Hawaii and Alaska, South America, the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, Ontario, Quebec and the Yukon. He viewed the Polar Bear migration in Churchill, Canada, and he floated down the Amazon River in South America. He was a great fly fisherman, tying most of his flies and catching fish in many of our states. He took annual trips to Montana, Canada, Alaska and the Yukon. He loved to garden, was a great cook, and loved to work on his model railroads which he built and maintained in both Florida and Wisconsin.

He is survived by his wife, Darlene; one son, Paul Sands of Racine; four daughters, Cathy (John) Williams of Chesapeake, Virginia; Patti (Mark) Allison of Needham, Massachusetts; Jean Sands (Henry Owen) of Metz, France; and Mary Sands (Jason Logan) of Atlanta, Georgia; five grandchildren: Robert Williams, Danielle Sands, Sam Allison, Tom Allison and William Logan; and one great-grandchild, Dallas Williams.

After cremation his ashes will rest in the Sands family plot in the Evergreen Cemetery in L'Anse, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Salvation Army.

Published in Appleton Post-Crescent on July 6, 2014
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