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1919 Charles 2018

Charles Macneill

March 1, 1919 — November 25, 2018

Charles William “Bill” MacNeill, age 99, of Naples, FL, and Green Lake, WI, passed away on Sunday, November 25, 2018, at Patriot Place in Berlin, WI.

Bill was born in Louisville, KY, the son of William Joseph and Daphne (Hurlbutt) MacNeill. Bill attended U.W. Madison where he graduated with a degree in metallurgical and industrial engineering. He also attended and graduated from Technical School AAFTTC at Yale University. He became a flight engineer on B-29s and on B-24s. He was a maintenance control officer for 24 months in charge of 1800 men. Bill married Mary Kathryn (Morse) on August 11, 1956 in Wauwatosa, WI. Mary Kay preceded Bill in death on July 14, 2012 in Naples, FL, following 56 years of marriage.

In 1956 he was stricken with cancer and lost his leg down to his knee. Six years later cancer returned and he had to have it amputated to his hip. He never let that get him down. He would say “I can't run the 100 yard dash, but I can cover the 100 yards.” He believed that people who have a disability need understanding, not sympathy. He was in numerous films on walking which were produced by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN where he had his surgeries. He wasn't going to waste his time in life by self-pity. He always said a person should feel sorry for themselves for about 10 minutes and then “get on with the job of living.”

Bill and Mary Kay moved to Green Lake, WI, where he designed, built, and manufactured the first fiberglass E-Scow and Pram sailboats. He went to work for Berlin Chapman where he helped build their new foundry and installing state of the art furnaces. He left Berlin to work for Vollrath Corporation and eventually Kohler Company. In 1976 he developed the electric melt system which was one of the most difficult and monumental projects ever taken on by the Kohler Co. He went on to establish his own foundry consulting business and for years would fly to Dallas, TX every Monday morning and fly back every Friday night. He continued working with overseas foundries importing castings until 2016. He retired at the age of 97. He worked a “second job” and was president of McConnells Marina which eventually became Lac Marina.

Bill was an avid golfer and sailor. He began golfing at Tuscumbia Golf Club in 1933. He played many times in the Gene Edwards pro-am tournament. One year he tied for 7th in the amateur division. He had to play without his prosthesis to be able to swing. When they moved to Naples they moved into the Foxfire community where they bought a house overlooking the ninth green. He continued to play golf until the age of 97.

Sailing was a tremendous part of his life. In 1959-1960 he was commodore of the Green Lake Yacht Club. He strongly believed in youth sailing. He contacted his friend Gordy Davidson (Harley-Davidson), who was involved in the Pewaukee sailing school program, obtained a copy of the bylaws for their sailing school and started the Green Lake Sailing School. In 1961 Green Lake Yacht Club hosted their first regatta at the strong urging of Bill. The profits from that regatta went to start the sailing school. For every regatta that he chaired (and there were many) all of the profits continued to fund the sailing school. He himself sailed an E-Scow for many years. When he was physically unable to sail anymore, he devoted his time to judge the races. He once was quoted as saying, “I like sailing, I like people and I think Green Lake is the greatest place in the world.”

Bill is survived by his daughter, Christine (Robert) Hills of Princeton, WI; grandchildren, Matt (Laura) Hills of Louisville, CO, Morgan Kathryn (Sean McWane) Hills of Ripon, WI, James (special friend, Sarah) Hills of Lindenhurst , IL, William “Billy” MacNeill Hills of Princeton, WI; great-granddaughter, Georgia Hills of Louisville, CO; a niece, Barb MacNeill of West Bend, WI; and grandnephew, Rob (Ally) MacNeill of San Carlos, CA.

Bill wrote in a letter to his daughter, “Our travels through life are brief at best, why not enjoy it?” He was a man who never took no for an answer.

A family celebration and inurnment in Dartford Cemetery, Green Lake will take place at a later date.

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