The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

William 'Bill' Rowe

 

July 10, 2018

CHICAGO, Ill. - William "Bill" Rowe, 90, died on July 4, 2018, peacefully in his bed at home in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, surrounded by his wife, daughter, and beloved dog, Hercules.

Bill is survived around the country by his wife, Judy, and daughter, Pamela, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago; grandson and namesake Ian William, in Minneapolis, Minn .; and siblings Arnette Magnuson, in Crystal Lake, Margaret Kauppi, in Llano, Texas, and John Rowe, in Santa Barbara, Calif.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Delores Kurta, of Gile, Wis .; and beloved niece, Karen Kauppi, a Luther L. Wright alumnus.

Bill was born in 1928, on what was then considered Memorial Day, May 30, in Ironwood, Mich., to parents Irene Minard, born in Ashland, Wis., and William Rowe, born in Baltic, Mich. Bill's father was an iron miner for both the Montreal and Townsite mines.

Bill met Judy, the love of his life of almost 57 years, at the JC Penney store in Sheboygan, Wis., where he was assistant manager under Luke Lee. Judy was the daughter of podiatrist, Dr. Orville F. Zerrenner, and born and raised in Sheboygan (high school class of 1957). She ran the elevator at the store for a short time. Bill was personally promoted to the management program by James Cash Penney himself and often told the story of Mr. Penney's interview over lunch. Mr. Penney confided in Bill later that if he had salted his food first, before tasting it, he would not have been promoted.

Bill had a sixth sense for business and was a gentle and fair man with a dry sense of humor admired by his close friends and family. He worked his way up from the Penney's shoe department to district manager and company buyer, before retiring to Lakeland, Fla., in 1988. Braving the winter, they eventually moved to Illinois in 2010 to be closer to their daughter and grandson. Every summer since the late 1950s, the couple joined their family at their cottage in Watersmeet, Mich., to enjoy golf and "deer" friends.

The couple had one child, Pamela, born in Milwaukee. She believes that her father was the best example she could have had of how to live life and that even in his last moments, he had integrity and respect about him. She works as a Chicago wedding officiant and their only grandson, Ian William, works in the nonprofit sector in Minnesota.

Bill was in JROTC while attending Luther L. Wright High School, class of 1946, and a veteran of the Korean War. He served as a training officer for chemical, biological and radiological warfare at Camp McCoy, Sparta, Wis., and the Chemical School in Edgewood Arsenal, Md. Bill was very proud of a letter he received years later thanking him for his service from President Barack Obama.

Bill will be remembered by the stories he often told over 3 p.m. coffee, his hearty chuckle after his own jokes, and the intense impact he left on the hearts of his friends and family.

There will be no public funeral held, as the family will be performing a private ceremony. All cards are asked to be sent to Judy, via Kahle-Moore Funeral Home, 403 Silver Lake Road, Cary, IL 60013.

Born on Memorial Day and went out with a bang on the 4th of July! Bill would have loved the witticism.

 
 

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