William (Bill) Paul Meinert was born on December 22, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York. He died September 11, 2021, at his home in Metairie, Louisiana.
He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1954. He was accepted into the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, from which he graduated in 1958 with a degree in Marine Engineering, a USCG license as a Third Assistant Engineer in the Merchant Marine, and a commission in the Navy as an Ensign, USNR. He spent his third class (sophomore) year at sea and sailed around the world. After graduation, he worked as an engineer on merchant ships, sailing with the United States Line, United Presidents Line, and the United Fruit Corporation.
It was while his ship was undergoing repairs in New Orleans that he met Anna Mae Martino, a nurse anesthetist student at Charity Hospital. They met on New Year's Eve, 1960 and were engaged six weeks later on Mardi Gras. Bill's ship sailed, and he returned only a few days before their wedding on September 3, 1961.
They moved to Seattle, Washington, where he worked for Boeing, designing rocket engines. Boeing transferred him back to New Orleans, where he began flying lessons at Lakefront Airport. He was hired by United Airlines as a pilot in 1966. He also served in the U.S. Naval reserve from 1954 through 1966, ending his tenure as Lieutenant Junior Grade. He worked for United Airlines for 30 years, based at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. He flew many different models of airplanes during that time and ended his career as Captain of a DC-10, his favorite plane to fly.
After his retirement the family returned to the New Orleans area, settling in Metairie. Bill loved to travel, visiting Hawaii many times, and many places in the U.S. and abroad. He traveled to Europe, to see family and friends and to visit battle sites in Germany and France, an interest that he shared with his grandson Jacob William. He also flew to Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Emil and Therese Meinert; and his sister, Helga Smith Sanello. He leaves his wife of sixty years Anna Mae, and his daughters, Susan Moskop, Karen Sterbenz, and Elizabeth Meinert. He also leaves son-in-law RJ Moskop and Keith Sterbenz and Elizabeth's partner James Fourcade. He leaves his grandchildren Sophie Moskop, and Conner, Jacob, Zachary and Zayne Sterbenz; "adopted" grandson Jordan Pittman; his brother and sister-in-law Emil and Sherry Meinert; sister-in-law Jo Hagen; and many nieces and nephews. He was very close to his friend Anthony Liebel.
The family would like to thank Bill's caregiver Stacey Prude, and the Notre Dame home health agency for the wonderful care they provided over the last five months.
Visitation will be at Harry McKneely & Son Funeral Home, 2000 North Morrison Boulevard, Hammond, LA, Thursday, September 16, 2021, from noon until funeral services at 2:00 pm. Entombment will follow in Rose Memorial Park, Hammond.
The family kindly requests face masks be worn during the visitation and service unless vaccinated.