William Clark (Bill) Stetson Jr. (1933 - 2019)

  • "What a wonderful tribute to a fascinating man! I benefited..."
    - Angela Putman
  • "What a wonderful life and legacy! So many great memories of..."
    - Petey (Fuller) Stephanak
  • "My deepest sympathy to you and your family, Jane, in the..."
    - Lorraine Bridell Clark
  • "What a wonderful man who helped shape the lives of so many..."
    - Lynn Wertke
  • "What a wonderful life of achievement and compassion from a..."
    - Randy Valenta

William (Bill) Clark Stetson, Jr Coach Bill Stetson swam his final laps Mar 1, 2019. Bill, 85, passed away peacefully in the presence of his wife Jane (nee Collins). Married to Jane 63 years, Bill is also survived by his four children: Brad (Judy), Todd (Kathy), Lynn (Kathleen) and Jody (Mike) Nolan. He was the charismatic Grandpa to Brett (Katie), Drew (Jackie), Liz (Sean), Danny (Laura), Julie (Shawn), Clare, Griffin, Patrick, Breghan, Keeley and Morgan in addition to a Great Grandpa to Will, Ben, Charlie, Emma Jane, Molly and two more on the way. Bill began his life as a troublemaker until the New Trier swimming coach saw him blow away his top swimmers during gym class while holding his head up out of the water. Coach EB Jackson became Bill's mentor and coached him to an Illinois State Champion in 1952 and a swimming scholarship to Northwestern University, where he also earned his Masters. Bill became a teacher and coach at Bay City, MI, Handy High School where he coached All-Americans and a National High School record setting freestyle relay. In 1962, Bill and Jane moved to Glenview, IL, where they became very visible and active community members. Bill was an original teacher at Glenbrook South High School and went on to coach the swimming teams for 26 years earning national recognition as the Nation's top scholastic swimming contributor. Bill also received the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame award for his leadership and service to national high school swimming. Bill's legacy contribution will be his Learn-To-Swim program where he instructed high schoolers how to teach toddlers and grade schoolers to swim. His creation and leadership of this program is responsible for tens of thousands of lessons providing young children with a critical life skill. His daughter, Jody, now leads the program in its 57th year. In addition to his impact to the sport of swimming, Bill was a natural athlete winning the Glenview Men's Tennis championship and enjoying his late night matches with friends or his sons. A talented craftsman, Bill built furniture and remodeled homes. An intrepid outdoorsman from his youth camps in Wyoming, Bill also delighted in camping with his family across the country. More than anything, he believed in providing young people direction and then letting them find their way. Bill's 30 year presence in Hilton Head Island was marked by the friendly bald man on his recumbent bicycle with flags of family colleges and Chicago sports favorites as well as his ongoing love of tennis with friends at the South Beach Racquet Club. He will be missed by all those that delighted in his lighting up the room with his energetic and outgoing personality and leaves us with a "strong two-bid." Remembrance visits are pending. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Hilton Head Firefighters' Association, PO Box 23107, Hilton Head Island, SC 29925.
Published in The Island Packet on Mar. 6, 2019
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