William Curtis Hawley, known to all as “Bill,” a lifelong and dedicated Baldwinite, died peacefully on Tuesday, July 14 at Western Wisconsin Health while in comfort care.
Bill, during his long and fruitful life cultivated many friendships, enjoyed a multitude of recreational activities and cherished his wife Muriel, his five children, eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
Bill was born in Minneapolis to William E. and Ruth E. (Kelley) Hawley on February 10, 1930. He was the second of three children. He graduated from Baldwin High School and then the University of Wisconsin at Madison at which two of his grandchildren have followed in his footsteps. Following his university years, Bill served for two years in the United States Army and much of that time he spent as a writer for an Army newspaper.
Following his honorable discharge from the Army, Bill returned home and became the third generation to work for the family business, The Baldwin Bulletin, which he eventually bought from his father and then owned until it was taken over by the fourth generation, his sons Pete and Tom.
On October 8, 1955 Bill was married to Muriel Annette Rademaker at the First Reformed Church of Baldwin. The couple had five children, in order: Tom, Pete, Bill, Mary and Jack. Mary and Jack are twins and were born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Because they were the first set of twins Dr. Clifford Olson attended and because Muriel worked for him as a nurse at the Baldwin Clinic and at the Baldwin Hospital, he accompanied Muriel for the delivery. That was when Dr. Olson met and recruited Dr. John May to practice in Baldwin.
Something of no value, but perhaps of some interest, to some at least, is that after Bill and Muriel had their second son, they moved into the house that Bill grew up in which was built by his parents when they (W.E. and Ruth) were married. Bill continued to reside in that same home until his final illness. Thus, Bill has the distinction, most probably, of living longer in the same home in Baldwin, maybe 80 plus years, than any other Baldwinite.
Bill was active in his church, The First United Presbyterian Church of Baldwin, where he was baptized and confirmed. As an adult he served on the church session and as Clerk of Session. Bill was a member of Collins Masonic Lodge of Baldwin and in 2018 he was honored for 70 years of membership. He was also a Shriner and made many trips with local children to Shriner’s Hospitals, in both Minneapolis and Chicago. Bill was a member of Baldwin Cave-Dahl American Legion Post 240. For many years Bill was a member of the Baldwin Fire Department. He was a Boy Scout leader.
Bill served as a director of the Baldwin Improvement Corporation. He was a director of the First National Bank, and its successor First Bank of Baldwin. He was a director and served as president of Baldwin Telecom, predecessor of Baldwin Lightstream.
Bill loved to golf and was a good player. He played in leagues over the years in Menomonie, New Richmond and then was an original member of the Hammond Golf Club where he vied several times for the club championship, but never won the title despite coming close a couple times.
Bill very much enjoyed his yearly spring fishing trips to Canada, and later he added fall fishing trips. Among the local men who enjoyed the trip over the years with Bill were: Don Somsen, Gene Fern, Dr. T., Dr. May, Wilbur Mattison, Marsh Wynveen, Ralph Freitag, Don Olson, Roger Wolske and Cal Reid.
Bill was an inspiration, mentor and teacher to his children. His most important admonition to them, perhaps, passed down from his father and paraphrased from Paul Brown, was “if you lose say little, if you win say less.” When his own children outgrew hide and seek, there were times when other neighborhood children would knock on his door and ask if Bill could come out and play.
In February of this year, Bill was pleased when a surprise party was held at his house for his 90th birthday and some of his friends and more of his friends’ children attended and enjoyed cocktails and appetizers.
Bill’s life was celebrated at a family gathering on Saturday, July 18 at O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Baldwin. Officiating at the celebration was family friend Pastor Paul Lovestrand.
The family is grateful that the following individuals, who shared interests with Bill, often recreational or outdoor related, agreed to serve as Bill’s honorary pallbearers: David Somsen, David Mattison, Calvin Hop, Reid Berger, Dr. Clint Andersen, Don Makuch, Jerry Pederstuen, Larry Knegendorf, Norvold Rasmussen, Russ Serier, Tom Schumacher, Dennis Mathison, Loren Rochester and Terry Nelson.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Kent Hawley, brothers-in law Ken Ohm and Gayle Rademaker.
Bill is survived by his wife of 64 years, Muriel; children Tom and his wife Rita, Pete and his wife Julie, Bill, Mary and her husband Tom, and Jack; eight grandchildren: Drew, Liz and wife Heather, John and wife Stephanie, Kelly, Ellen, Ben, Martha, and Emma; eight great-grandchildren: Cora, Will, Mason, Lauren, Audrey, Kennedy, Avery and Bennett; sister Judy Ohm; sisters-in-law Donna Rademaker and Earlene Hawley; and nieces and nephews.