William "Bill"-Eastham-Obituary

Photo courtesy of Feerick Funeral Home - Shorewood

William "Bill" E. Eastham

Shorewood, Wisconsin

Jan 19, 1926 – Mar 16, 2019 (Age 93)


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Feerick Funeral Home - Shorewood Obituary

Bill died on Saturday, March 16, 2019, at the age of 93. Resident of Whitefish Bay for 50 years with his wife, the late Jane (Pate) Eastham, before moving to St. John’s on the Lake in 2005. Bill and Jane celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2001. Preceded in death by his dear wife, infant son Paul, and siblings Jack and Dana Eastham. Survived by his sister Nancy Iacobucci (Frank), sisters in law Sandy and Merrilyn, his children, Jim (Catherine), Nancy (Jim Bamberger), Liz Jergensen, and Marcia (Frank) Gens. Further survived by his loving grandchildren Robin, Nick (Kate), Marjahn, Will, Chris, Russell, Julia, Andrew and 2 great-grandchildren, Myka and Wyatt, as well as many other relatives and friends. 

Bill graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, in 1943, and immediately enlisted in the United States Army to serve his country in World War II. The Army sent him to Ohio University and Penn State for his electrical engineering degree but after the war he finished his degree (and switched his major) and graduated from Brown University in 1948 with a degree in economics and a letter in Wrestling.  He then attended Harvard Business School and graduated in 1951.

Upon graduation, Bill got a job at the Pate Oil Company where he worked until the late 1960's. In 1956, what was originally the Pate Oil Company, was sold to Standard Oil (now Exxon). After a number of years at Exxon, he left to manage the Milwaukee office of Manpower, Inc. At the time, Manpower was the largest temporary help company in the world. After 11 years on the job, he decided he wanted to start his own business. In 1982, at age 57, he bought Crafted Plastics, Inc. in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and owned the company for 26 years. In the beginning, there were 12 employees with sales under $1M. When he sold the company to the employees in 2008, there were 50+ employees and sales of $8M.

When he retired, Bill had more time to focus on his other interests including golf, tennis, softball, bridge, skiing, and traveling in the U.S. coast to coast most years. Until the age of 92, Bill was ski racing on both the local and national levels. In 1952, he became a member of the Heiliger Huegel (Holy Hill) Ski Club. In 1962, the year the Vail Ski area opened, Bill and a group of about 12 friends went to Vail, Colorado to ski. They continued this tradition until 2018 and called themselves the "Vail Stags."

Active on many committees he served on the Board of Directors at St. John’s On The Lake, retirement community, as well as floor leader and other Committees. He also sat on the board of the Silver Bay Association. He volunteered extensively with the YMCA, including serving as Chairman of the Board of Managers of the Central Milwaukee YMCA as well as other boards including the Silver Bay Association. He volunteered with the Rotary Club and in many capacities at the Heiliger Huegel Ski Club including serving as a member of the ski patrol.

Bill had a great love of music and attended the Florentine Opera, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Milwaukee Ballet. He also was a huge sports fan especially of the Marquette Golden Eagles and the Green Bay Packers, where he had season tickets since 1953. Bill was an avid hiker – he hiked in the White Mountains into his mid-80s and fondly remembered a western climbing trip, which included the Grand Tetons, with his brother Dana in the summer of 1950. A lover of life and people, he will be greatly missed by family and friends.

Family will greet friends on Friday, March 22, from 10:00AM to 11:00AM at the United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay, 819 E. Silver Spring Drive. A memorial service honoring Bill’s life will take place at 11:00AM. A reception will be held immediately following in The Gallery at St. John’s on the Lake, 1840 N. Prospect Ave., in Milwaukee. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Silver Bay Association, the Florentine Opera Company and the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.

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Condolences to family and friends. Bill was an all around exceptional man. Interesting to know his background. I worked with him through his business C.P. and through Rotary, many years back. He was kind to everyone, an excellent business owner, and a servant leader in our Sheboygan community. God's speed

Deepest sympathy to all Bill's loved ones. We met about 6 years ago in Sheboygan, WI at an office where I work. Right away this amazing sharp man caught my ear...hearing that Boston accent! I grew up in Andover, MA not far from Phillips Academy. Loved getting updates from Bill on his travels back east to see his family! What a man. Heaven is THRILLED to have this man enter their gates! Such a kindness to this gifted and achieved man! Never saw him enter in jeans...always a sharp suit...

Uncle Bill has always been one of our favorites. He was so supportive when our dad, (his brother Dana), died. Uncle Bill's wisdom and wit will be missed. -Belinda and Nolen Eastham

Bill was a dear , kind, gentleman and a Silver Bay treasure. I will miss seeing him each summer. I am going to climb Inspiration Point this summer in his honor!
Barb Folkemer

Bill was a long time Silver Bay member, having served on our Board and was a generous supporter in every meaning of the word. I had the pleasure of getting to know him just after I arrived here. I remember an hour long walk and chat we had on all kinds of things. Later that day he stop by and made a very generous donation, even though I never asked for a nickel. He was that kind of guy. I'll miss our chats.
Prayers of peace and love for Nancy, Merrilyn and the entire family

I worked for Bill in Sheboygan. He was a wonderful intelligent man. He is now at peace with his loved ones. God Bless

I worked for Bill at the Milwaukee Office of Manpower the early 70's. I started out as a sales executive and he promoted me to Manager of the Industrial Division. He used to take me with him to the Marquette Men's Basketball games. He was a good manager and friend.

Those who pass on God keep in his memory because he cares for them sorry for your loss.