William J. “Bill” Vandervort Jr.
William J. “Bill” Vandervort, Jr., 89, died on February 20, 2020.
He was born on Sept. 27, 1930 to William J. and Veronica “Ronnie” Vandervort at
St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac. Bill attended Franklin Elementary School, Roosevelt
Junior High School and graduated from L.P. Goodrich High School in 1948.
Bill was an accomplished trumpet player in school and was a
member of the pep and marching bands. He was a member of the AmVets Drum and
Bugle Corps after high school and was a bugler at Camp Shaginappi Boy Scout
Camp from 1946 to 1948.
After graduation, Bill worked for E&J Paving Co in Fond
du Lac where he worked on the Fond du Lac Avenue construction project. He also
worked at the Fred Rueping Leather Co.
Bill enlisted in the United States Navy in 1949, and
following boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Station and electrician’s school, Bill
served on the U.S.S. Whitley (AKA-91) attack cargo ship as an Electrician’s
Bill began his long career at Giddings and Lewis Machine
Tool Co. in September 1950, and retired in July, 2006. During that time he
worked as a maintenance electrician, electrical wireman in the machine shop, and
machine operator. He transferred to the newly-organized G&L Electronics
Division in June, 1960 and worked as a foreman training setup crews and
additional foreman for the division.
During his tenure at G&L, Bill endured various layoff
periods and worked at American Motors Corporation in Kenosha, Keikhaefer Plant
(now Mercury Marine) in Kewaskum, and Tecumseh Products Co. in New Holstein.
Bill also worked as an insurance agent during the extended union strike at
G&L in the 1970s.
Bill retired from G&L at age 76 as the longest-term
employee for the company.
Bill met his future wife, Arlene Cathryn Eggers, in
catechism class at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church when they were both eight
years old. They graduated from Goodrich together but never dated until he asked
her to go roller skating. They were married on Feb. 3, 1951 at St. Patrick’s
Bill and Arlene traveled to many places around the world,
mostly with classmates Ralph and Carol DuQuette Steffen, to Australia, Mexico,
Europe, the Holy Land, Alaska and Hawaii. They also traveled with their family,
in a 1966 Dodge truck and camper, to all of the lower 48 states, Mexico and Canada.
Bill designed and built his own house in 1953, and bought
and maintained two rental properties around town. Bill and Arlene were charter
members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Bill is survived by his wife Arlene; four children, Kathleen
(Gerald) Farrell of Marquette, MI, Kevin (Mackie) of Boerne, Texas, Keith (Kay)
of Ely, MN, and Kraig (Tina) of Roseville, MN; six grandchildren, Laurie
(Jack), Michael (Leah), AnnMarie (Allyce), Kimberly, Rachel, and Travis; ten great-grandchildren,
Preston, Madison, Kyla, Mark, Grace, Emmett, Lennox, John (JJ), Sylvie, and
Zachary; sister-in-law Shirley Kissinger; and brother-in-law Larry (Diane)
Eggers. Bill is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins, other
relatives, and friends.
SERVICES: Bill’s family will receive friends and relatives
for a time of visitation on February 28, 2020 from 9:30 AM until 10:30 AM at
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 200 S Peters Ave, Fond du Lac. A Mass of
Christian Burial will take place following the visitation. Entombment will follow
mass at Calvary Mausoleum.
Bill’s family would like to extend a special thank you to
Father Thomas at Holy Family Catholic Parish, the Agnesian Hospital Staff, the
Lakeview Place Staff, and the Hospice Hope Staff for all of their help and