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William J McFaddenSeptember 2, 1927 ~ August 9, 2017 (age 89)
William J. McFadden – Age 89, of Neenah, passed away quietly at his home on August 9, 2017. Bill was born on September 2, 1927 in St. Mary’s, PA to William and Kathleen (Grumley) McFadden, and grew up in Johnsonburg, PA with his parents, older sister Betty, and younger sister Margaret. The family moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario when Bill was in high school, and at World War II’s end he proudly answered his country’s draft call, eager to do his part as a tail-end member of the Greatest Generation.
Bill was honored to serve his country in the US Army’s post-World War II reconstruction efforts in Germany, and spent 8 months in Korea in 1951, where he received the Korean Service Medal and two Bronze Service Stars. Between military service engagements, he studied at the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire, where he received a degree in business administration in 1954. Bill and his college buddies enjoyed weekend outings to nearby towns for basketball games and revelry, and he stole the heart of a local gal named Barb he met on one of those trips.
On September 4, 1954, Bill married Barbara Greenough in her hometown of Lancaster, NH and the couple moved shortly thereafter to Neenah, where he had accepted a sales position with Kimberly Clark Corporation. Together, they raised five daughters and set a very high bar as parents, friends and neighbors. Bill’s friendly nature and love of people suited him well for a successful career in the paper industry – ever the salesman, he kept an oar in the water well past his retirement by selling paper towels to various small businesses in the Fox River Valley.
A true sports fan (GO PACK GO!), Bill participated in many community athletics programs over the years, coaching for Neenah’s St. Margaret Mary basketball teams from 1961-1994 and Neenah Little League baseball in the 1970s, refereeing for WIAA basketball during the 1970s, and umpiring for both Neenah and Menasha Park & Recreation Department softball leagues in the 1980s. Camping and fishing were high on Bill’s list of warm-weather fun. Family camping trips (joining dear friends met when Bill was a member of Appleton’s Fox Valleyaires barbershop chorus) were summer highlights in the 1970s and 1980s. In later years, the tidy trailer he and Barb kept at Rose’s Enchanted Forest in Wild Rose was a gathering spot for that same gang. There was plenty of fishing and boating in between, and he especially loved his annual late-summer trips to Ole’s Adventure Resort on Ontario’s Whitefish Lake for walleye, northern, perch and bass fishing.
Bill was a staunch volunteer for a wide variety of community organizations, all of whom benefited from his participation. He was a familiar face to many Neenah residents through his work at Neenah polling places on election days; he drove veterans to medical appointments in Milwaukee (well into his early 80’s!); and he donated blood with the American Red Cross (2 pints short of 15 gallons over his life!). Always grateful to be of service, he truly enjoyed the many people he met along the way. Bill was deeply patriotic, and held a particular reverence for active-duty service members and military veterans. He was thrilled to have participated in a Guardian role accompanying WWII vets on “mission one”, the very first day trip to Washington, DC that was organized by Northeast Wisconsin’s Old Glory Honor Flight in October 2009.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Barbara McFadden; his parents; and his sister Betty Norman. Survivors include his sister, Margaret Norman (Huntsville, AL); daughters Cynthia McFadden of Neenah, Patricia Sprenger (John) of Zittau, Kelly McFadden of Chicago, Amy Zubryd of Mt. Pleasant, SC and Rebecca McFadden of Milwaukee; grandchildren Jill Hatton of Hartland, WI; Olivia Witthun (Greg) of Neenah, Jesse Sprenger (Clanci O’Connor) of Oshkosh and Madelyn Zubryd of Mt. Pleasant, SC; great-grandchildren Addison Witthun and Rowan Witthun of Neenah and Jackson Sprenger of Oshkosh; and many beloved nieces and nephews he stayed in touch with over the years. Bill’s daughters wish to thank the special caregivers who made it possible for him to remain in his home as he neared the end of his journey, and are grateful for the many wonderful friends that he and Barb made over their years in the Valley. They extend a special thank-you to Gary Stadler for his friendship and visits with Bill near the end of his life.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, August 25th at St. Margaret Mary church, 620 Division Street in Neenah (visitation from 10:30am to 12:00pm; service at 12 noon; lunch to follow at 12:45pm). For those who are so inclined, in lieu of floral arrangements, please consider a donation in Bill’s name to the “Take Me Fishing” loaner program through the Neenah Park and Recreation Department, which makes rods, reels and tackle boxes available to members of the community. (Take Me Fishing Program, c/o Neenah Park & Rec Dept., 211 Walnut Street, Neenah, WI 54956), or the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org). Our deepest thanks and love to you, dear Bill, for your love and friendship, your steady hand, and your great good humor. We will think of you every time we pick up a fishing pole, watch a Packer game, or help a friend or stranger in need.