William B. Roxworthy, 64, of Elburn, formerly of St. Charles, passed away Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, at Delnor Hospital in Geneva. His battle against cancer took his body but could never break his spirit, and he now embraces the promise of his Savior.
He was born the youngest of six on Sept. 20, 1947, in Chicago, the son of Thomas J. and Georgiene (Thompson) Roxworthy.
Bill grew up in Barrington Hills, Ill., and attended local schools. After graduating from Barrington High School with the class of 1965, Bill attended Dickinson State University in Dickinson, N.D.
Bill was lucky in love. Bill met his future bride when he was only 16 years old. While cruising around with his best friend, they stopped to visit another friend, John Mack. As they pulled up to the Mack house, his eye fell on John’s 14-year-old sister, Nancy, as she washed her dad’s car in the driveway. The minute he saw her he fell in love. They dated all through high school and college. During this time, the nation was calling its youth to serve in the armed forces. Though many were drafted, Bill chose to enlist into the United States Army in October of 1966. Bill faithfully and proudly served his country, which included two tours of duty in Vietnam. While separated, Bill and Nancy wrote to one another daily. In one letter, he mentioned his upcoming “R&R” to Hawaii. Bill was shocked and overjoyed to see Nancy on the tarmac, waiting for his plane to land. While in Hawaii, they decided to make their love official and united in marriage on July 17, 1968.
He returned to civilian life after his honorable discharge in May of 1969. He came home to Barrington and into the waiting arms of a beautiful wife and a newborn son, Philip. The family grew to include two more children, Kelly in 1970, and Kerry made the family complete in 1971. After moving to Palatine, Ill., and their first home, Bill and his family moved to St. Charles in 1977. A lifetime of family memories were made in St. Charles with school, sports, social and church activities. Once the children were grown, Bill and Nancy moved to Elburn, where they made a home perfect for grandkids that now number 10.
Bill’s education, which began in North Dakota, continued when he returned home from Vietnam. In need of a job to support his instant family, his oldest brother Tom found him an advertising job in Chicago. He juggled the responsibility of his growing family while working and taking night classes. Advertising sales and publishing became his calling; over the years Bill found himself working for some of the most well-known magazines in the country, including Cosmopolitan, Parents Magazine, Mechanix Illustrated, Field & Stream, Better Homes & Gardens and Sport magazines. He retired from his dream job with Ski Magazine at age 49, which allowed him time for his creative talents.
Bill, never one to sit idle, started up a small business aptly named “Good Dog Landscaping.” He also dedicated much time to his artistic passions. He created watercolor landscapes born of not only his imagination, but from the inspiration of iconic farming structures and the rural countryside surrounding his home. He could be found most days painting in his quaint studio out back with his dog Wrigley for company.
Bill’s childhood was cut short by the death of his parents when he was still just a boy. He quickly found that if life brought you strife, you needed to adapt and make your own “sunshine” to share. Bill was a talker and a born salesman who never met a stranger. He had a smile that would light up a room and a heart so big it had room for anyone and everyone. If anyone was in need, Bill was ready to lend a helping hand and always had a hug ready to share. Bill supported many causes and organizations, not only monetarily, but with his time and talent as well. Bill was a member of the team that implemented Planetree at Delnor Hospital, a patient centered model of care. Bill and Nancy donated a seven-foot-tall star sculpture at the entrance to Delnor Hospital to recognize the dedication of Delnor employees.
Though he worked in print advertising, his hobby was his fellow man. Whether it was coffee with friends or a speech in front of fellow businessmen, Bill had a way about him that put you instantly at ease. Bill loved the outdoors and was known as “tractor grandpa” to his grandkids. He also was an avid golfer with a standing tee time every Sunday at Settler’s Hill, where he created lasting friendships for years. Fishing also caught his attention very early in life with his father and brothers, and he returned the favor by sharing that passion with his kids and grandkids. Together they brought in huge catches—not just tall tales. Bill was passionate about all of God’s creatures, especially dogs, many of which found a place not only in his heart but also in his home. Bill loved his family with the strength of 10 men, and was most happy when surrounded by the love of his wife, his children and later, his grandchildren who became the apple of his eye and the talk of the town. Bill leaves millions of memories and a legacy of love and passion that will be carried on by his family and friends for generations to come.
He is survived by his loving wife, Nancy; three children, Philip (Emily) Roxworthy and their children, Lucy, Mack, Hope and Chloe, Kelly (Ethan) Matyas and their children, Jake, Charlie, and Grace, and Kerry (Ian) Franke and their children, Brendan, Alison and Megan; four siblings, Jim (Barbara) Roxworthy, Pat Rydin, Don (Jo Ellen) Roxworthy and Dennis (Laurie) Roxworthy; one sister-in-law, Dorothy Roxworthy; and many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Thomas Roxworthy; sister-in-law, Connie Roxworthy; brother-in-law, Russell Rydin; two nephews, David Roxworthy and Brian Mack; and his mother and father-in-law, John and Mary Ellen Mack.
Visitation was from 4 to 8 p.m., with a wake service to conclude visitation at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. A brief visitation began the following morning at 9 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30, also at the funeral home, and conclude with military honors. Following the presentation, there was a short procession to St. Gall Catholic Church, where there was a Catholic Mass to celebrate his life, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Fr. Karl Ganss, pastor of the church, officiated. Private family interment will follow cremation at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Bill’s name to benefit his favorite charities, including the ASPCA, Delnor Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project. Checks may be made to the “William Roxworthy Memorial” 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, where you can find his full life story.