William E. â€˜Billâ€™ Bergmann, 77, of rural Elburn, passed away in his home of 35 years on Oct. 27, 2010, when he was overtaken with complications from a 14-year encounter with prostate cancer.
He was born in Chicago, the only son of Edwin W. Bergman and Mary (Ursin) Bergman on Sept. 10, 1933.
Bill grew up in the Austin and Humboldt Park neighborhoods on the northwest side of Chicago. While attending Austin High School and competing in track and field, Bill was a six-time City Shot Put Champion, setting a Chicago high school record that stood for 17 years. He was State Champion in this event, ranking eighth in the nation and All-State in the discus throw in 1951. Bill and Abe Woodson also led Austin to a third-place finish in the state meet that year.
He graduated from Indiana University, where in 1955 he received a B.S. degree and was also named an All-Big Ten Athlete in track and field.
Bill served in the United States Army for two years as a second lieutenant and later, a first lieutenant. He first attended the Armored School at Fort Knox, Ky., then for 18 months he served as a tank platoon leader, tank commander and battalion liaison for the 7th Tank Battalion of the Third Armored (Spearhead) Division near Frankfurt, Germany.
Following his honorable discharge, he taught high school general science, was a pharmaceutical sales representative and later a technical service representative for a chemical and medical laboratory instrument company. Under the G.I. Bill, he earned a masterâ€™s degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in 1972.
He was employed at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill., for 20 years, including 10 as the head gardener, horticulture and crew leader before his retirement in 1992.
He was united in marriage to the love of his life, Judith Martin, on St. Patrickâ€™s Day in 1962 at the Chicago Temple. They made their home in Elmhurst for 13 years before settling away from the hustle and bustle of the city, in rural Elburn.
Bill was a life-long member of the Indiana University Alumni Association, the Woodburn Guild, The Arbutus Society, The Varsity Crue and the â€œIâ€-Mens Association of Indiana University.
Following his retirement, Bill accelerated his long time avocations as an accomplished and enthusiastic cook of ethnic dishes and baker of delicious breads. He also made country wines, beers and liquors, was a bee keeper and was serious when it came to tending his orchard fruits, grape vines and vegetable garden.
When he wasnâ€™t working his â€œgreen thumbs,â€ Bill loved fishing in his neighborâ€™s pond for pan fish and bass. He was deeply proud to initiate an endowed track and field scholarship in his name at his alma mater. He also owed much to the Salvation Army and the enrichment gained at their summer camp in Wisconsin, where he was a counselor for two summers.
He is survived by Judith, his wife and dearest friend of 48 years, who gratefully thanks Rodney B. Nelson, M.D., Linda M. Wiss, his pharmacist and their staff for the unflagging support given to Bill during his illness.
He is preceded in death by his parents.
According to his wishes there will be no visitation and following cremation, interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit his favorite charities. Checks may be made to the â€œBill Bergmann Memorialâ€ and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.