William B WinterJuly 16, 1928 ~ June 20, 2017 (age 88)
William “Bill” Winter, who led Bucyrus Erie through a successful leverage buyout in the 1980s, died Tuesday, June 20 at the age of 88.
Bill spent 41 years at Bucyrus Erie, serving as CEO and Chairman of one of South Milwaukee’s iconic companies from 1988 through his retirement in 1994.
A native of LaCrosse, WI with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Bill joined Bucyrus Erie in 1953 as a member of their recently created Management Training program. He quite literally re-wrote the book for the program while holding multiple plant management positions before being named Vice President of Manufacturing and Foreign Operations in 1965. He went on to hold numerous executive positions within Bucyrus and served as Managing Director for the Ruston-Bucyrus division in Lincoln England from 1971-1978. Upon his return to Milwaukee, he was named President and Chief Operating Officer prior to the leverage buyout that resulted in his being named CEO and Chairman. Bill left Bucyrus in 1994, retiring to Bonita Springs, FL.
Throughout his career and into retired life, Bill was constantly busy. He held numerous board positions for social, community, charity, and arts organizations including President of The Vagabond Ski Club, Chairman of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee Executive Board, Chairman of the Bucyrus Erie Foundation Board, and Director of the Milwaukee Florentine Opera Company.
Through the Vagabonds, Bill would also meet Marie Klein of Milwaukee, whom he would marry on November 21, 1970. Shortly after their marriage, Bill would take Marie to England for 7 years for his Ruston-Bucyrus transfer. He would regularly travel for work, oftentimes with Marie, where they saw Egypt, Japan, Australia, and South Africa. Bill was also a bit of a globe trotter and he and Marie vacationed all over the world including Acapulco, Mexico, The Caribbean, China, The Ukraine, The Holy Lands and almost all of Europe. One of Bill’s proudest moments was returning to Milwaukee from England with his adopted twins, Jennifer and Jonathan. Bill's devotion to his wife and family was never more evident in the way he loved and cared for his wife who suffered from Alzheimer's for the last ten years. Theirs was a true "love story."
Bill did not let retired life slow him down. He traveled between his homes in Bonita Springs, FL and Brookfield, WI twice each year while maintaining a very active lifestyle which included golfing, cycling, international travel, boating, community service, philanthropy, gardening, walking his two beloved dogs Heidi and Molly, and spending time with Marie and his very large group of friends. He especially enjoyed visiting his children and grandchildren; Dakota, Cole, and Kelsey. Two of the highlights of his retirement were when he rode his first Metric C (100 miles!) on his bicycle just past 80 years of age (he also led a few more after that!) and when he received the Rider of the Year Award in 2014 from the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Gustave & Bergliot (Bergford) Winter and his wife of 46 years, Marie. He is survived by his sister, Helen (Winter) Sivertson, daughter Jennifer Winter, son and daughter-in-law Jonathan and Misty Winter, grand-children Dakota, Cole, and Kelsey, and numerous beloved nieces and nephews. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered.
Celebration of Life services to be held at The Milwaukee Country Club in River Hills, WI on Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 4pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the United Way of Lee County (https://www.unitedwaylee.org/) or The Florentine Opera Company (http://www.florentineopera.org/thrive/).
Condolences can be sent to Jonathan and Jennifer Winter, In care of Becker Ritter Funeral Home (14075 W. North Ave. Brookfield, WI 53005).
United Way of Lee County
The Florentine Opera Company