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.Read More