William Richard Schnirring 1929 - 2020
Springfield, IL—William Richard Schnirring, a lifelong resident of Springfield, passed away on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
He was born on March 1, 1929, to William Robert and Marion Vernor Schnirring.
Bill attended Springfield Public Schools, and in his youth, he was an active member of Boy Scout Troop #7. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1946. Bill met his future wife, Mary Traylor Schnirring, in the third grade while attending Hay-Edwards Elementary School. They were married on September 30, 1950.
Bill attended the University of Illinois and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business in 1950. He was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, of which he was chapter President. Following his graduation, he served as a first lieutenant in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict, from 1951 to 1952 and was stationed in Thule, Greenland.
Bill was the Chairman Emeritus of Springfield Electric Supply Company. With its corporate headquarters in Springfield, the company has branch locations throughout the Midwest. Bill's formal career with Springfield Electric Supply Company began in 1952 when he joined the family-owned business, started by his father, William Robert Schnirring. Working beside his father was one of the highlights of his career. This 88-year-old company has grown from a single branch location to its present size, employing over 370 associates.
Bill served the electrical distribution industry in several key roles over the years, culminating with a term as Chairman of the National Association of Electrical Distributors in 1979-1980. He was later recognized as one of the recipients of the industry's highest national individual honors, the Arthur W. Hooper Award.
Bill's love for his community led his efforts to improve life in Springfield. He may be best known for his development work to benefit many of Springfield's civic and charitable organizations. He was recognized nationally in 1989 as an outstanding volunteer fundraiser and again in 1994 as Outstanding Philanthropist by the National Society of Fundraising Executives. In 1998, he was honored by being the recipient of the Sertoma "Service to Mankind" award.
Bill was active on many boards and committees over the years. His past business and industry work include service on the boards of First National Bank (U.S. Bank), Springfield Credit Bureau, Board Chairman of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and Board Chairman of the Industrial Development Council of Springfield and Sangamon County. He served on the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and helped craft recommendations for legislative and administrative action as a participant in a White House Small Business Conference.
Bill served many civic, service and educational organizations, as well. His roles included: a Trustee of Blackburn College, American Business Club Director, board member and Campaign Chairman of the United Way of Central Illinois, board member and Capitol Campaign Chairman for Contact Ministries, board member of the Vachel Lindsay Home Association, member of the Dean's Business Advisory Council at the University of Illinois at Champaign and a member of the Chancellor's Advisory Council at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He helped to foster the development and growth of small businesses in central Illinois by serving as a counselor for the Springfield chapter of SCORE. Bill was also a member of the Springfield Parks Foundation, Springfield Art Association, Illini Country Club, Sangamo Club, the Memorial Medical Center Foundation and Memorial Medical Center Board, serving as Chariman for both Memorial boards. He was an Elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Bill was also a member of the Scottish Rite, Red Cross of Constantine, Royal Order of the Jesters and a past Potentate of the Ansar Shrine.
Bill's honors include the Copley Press First Citizen of Springfield Award in 1989 and the Lincoln Academy of Illinois Order of Lincoln, the State of Illinois' highest award, in 2012. Bill was inducted into the Springfield High School Hall of Fame in 2013. The auditorium at Springfield High School is named in honor of Bill and his wife, Mary, for their support of the school throughout the years.
Bill had a wonderful sense of humor and loved being around people. He was personable and gracious to all he met. He was a natural leader and mentor to many throughout his life. He was always looking for ways to help others and touched many lives with his generous spirit.
Bill enjoyed traveling and spending winters in Naples, FL, with his wife, Mary. He especially loved time spent on the Schnirring Farm where he would garden, host parties, and ride his John Deere gator. Bill was an avid fan of the University of Illinois and Springfield High School. He was blessed with many lifelong friends and family. His proudest moments were those spent with his family.
Bill is survived by his two daughters, Kathy (Randy) Germeraad and Carolyn (Dan) Dungan; four grandchildren, Scott (Colleen) Germeraad, Carrie (Nick) Walden, Caitlin (Mark) Simhauser, and Colin Dungan. Bill was also blessed with five great-grandchildren, Declan, Merrin, Verity, and Isla Germeraad, and Nora Simhauser. He is also survived by his sister, Marilyn Kennedy; nephews, Robert and John Kennedy; and niece, Janice Kennedy Singer. Bill leaves behind many friends, especially close friend, Don Martin, and all of his colleagues at Springfield Electric. He always considered those working at Springfield Electric to be a part of his extended family. Bill was preceded in death by his parents. His beloved wife, Mary, also preceded him in death on January 12, 2020.
Bill's family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Concordia Village for their loving care, especially the nursing staff on Summer Breeze.
A Celebration of Life for Bill and Mary will be held jointly on May 14, 2020, at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Details will follow at a later date.
Donations to honor Bill's life can be made to Memorial Medical Center Foundation, PO Box 61, 701 North First Street, Springfield, IL 62781; Springfield Public Schools Foundation, 1900 West Monroe, Springfield, IL 62704; and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois, 300 South 15th Street, Springfield, IL 62703.
The family of Bill Schnirring is being served by Butler Funeral Home—Springfield, 900 S. Sixth St., Springfield.
Please visit butlerfuneralhomes.com
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