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F. William Gutzwiller

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F. William Gutzwiller Notice
Gutzwiller , F. William (known among friends as Bill) died at home Wednesday, November 23, 2011. He was a retired General Electric engineer. Originally from Wisconsin, and a part-time resident of Milwaukee since 1987, Bill was a resident of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Eagle Creek Golf and Country Club in Naples, Florida since his retirement in 1987.

Bill grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, graduating from Marquette University High School in 1944, and from Marquette's School of Engineering in 1949 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He served in the U. S. Navy in 1945 and 1946.

He worked in various engineering positions with Allis-Chalmers, Cutler-Hammer, and Harnischfeger Corporation in Milwaukee before going to General Electric in 1955 where he held engineering and management positions in New York State, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Connecticut.

Anyone who has a modern light dimmer switch or a variable speed electric hand tool is using devices Bill helped develop and patent. In 1957, Bill was part of the GE team charged with developing commercial applications of the newly invented Silicon Controlled Rectifier (SCR) and TRIAC electronic devices. After being presented with a laboratory prototype of the new device, Bill wired the TRIAC to an electric hand drill creating the first variable speed electric drill. Soon after he wired up a similar device to create the first solid state light dimmer.

He held 21 patents as well as authoring many books and technical articles in the field of solid state power controls. After retiring from GE, he practiced as a consulting engineer.

He was an avid sailor and yachtsman. Before leaving Milwaukee in the 50's, he was a member and officer of South Shore Yacht Club where he met his future wife Mary whom he married in 1953. Bill was also a member of Cedar Point Yacht Club (Westport, CT) and St. Thomas Yacht Club in the Virgin Islands before returning to South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee. He and his wife cruised in their sailboat on the East Coast from Maine to Florida and throughout the Caribbean from the Bahamas to Grenada.

He was also a well-known pastel artist in Milwaukee, the Caribbean, and Southwest Florida. He was a member of several outdoor painting groups in Wisconsin, the Caribbean, and Florida. His paintings hang in homes and public and private establishments throughout the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.

He is survived by his beloved wife Mary (nee Jelinek), daughters Elizabeth (Bedigian), Ann (John) Strassman, Laura (Paul) Dondero, Chris (Rick) Rosenberg, and Heidi (Chris) Minikel, sons Thomas (Diane), and Mark (deceased), 11 grandchildren: Karli (Eric) Larsen and Paul Bedigian; Liesel and Max Gutzwiller; Kathryn, Elizabeth, and Margaret Strassman; John and Timothy Dondero; and Mark and Alec Rosenberg, and great grandson Jack Larsen; brothers Robert (Audrey) Gutzwiller and Ed (Mary) Willer and several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of the Resurrection will be held 11:00am, Saturday, November 26, 2011 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 1023 E. Russell Avenue, Milwaukee 53207. Visitation will be held from 9:00 am to 11:00am at the church. Private interment at Holy Cross Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Catholic Relief Services, 228 West Lexington St., Baltimore, MD 21201-3443 and/or Catholi.

Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Nov. 24, 2011
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