William James Geenen, Jr. age 85, of Appleton, passed away peacefully at his home on June 11, 2018, from complications due to cancer. Bill was born in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin on February 13, 1933, to the late William James and Phoebe (Ciscel) Geenen Sr. with a family of sisters Doris (Graf) and Barbara (Smith) and brother David. On September 4, 1957, he was united in marriage to Mary Helen Knorr in Menasha. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year. Bill graduated from Appleton West High School (1951) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1957). He was a Veteran of the United States Army after two years of service (1953-55). He had two major careers: In retail, Bill worked for J.C. Penney’s and Montgomery Wards, and as a fast-food entrepreneur, he was a part-owner and manager for the Northland Tom’s Drive-In.
As part of his career in retail, Bill and the family lived in Appleton, Albert Lea, MN, Dubuque, IA, Bismarck, ND, and Tempe, AZ. Bill was USTA Team Tennis League Director and a player for the Northeastern Wisconsin League during the first five years of its existence (1980-85). Bill and Mary were long-time members of the Fox Cities Racquet Club where they played and socialized for decades. His favorite vacation spot was Hilton Head, South Carolina where there was always a tennis game or a shrimp boil going on. Bill was a life-time Badger, suffering through the years of mediocrity and took pride in the rejuvenation of UW athletics. He often told the story of how he bought a discounted ticket as a service veteran to the 1955 Major League Baseball All-Star game in Milwaukee County Stadium and watched Stan Musial hit his walk-off 12th inning home run and became a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan ever after. Bill was famous for his George Costanza-like financial calculations, which included wanting to keep his obituary as short as possible, but was also generous to friends and family in need.
Bill is survived by wife Mary, sons Hugh, Brad and Stuart, daughters-in-law Joy (Wilson) Geenen and Sara Hospador, grandchildren Brett, Natalie (Brian Anderson), Clayton and Sophia, and great-granddaughter Averie Wendy (Anderson).
Preceded in death by brother David, daughter-in-law, Wendy (Kloes) and parents William, Sr. and Phoebe.
A private family gathering will be held in the near future. The public remembrance is scheduled for Sunday, June 24th, between 1 and 3 p.m. at the Lake Park Crossing Office Community Room, 3135 E. Lake Park Crossing, Appleton. The family would like to especially thank the ThedaCare hospice staff Joan, Amy, Heidi, Beth, Ida and Nicole for their professionalism and compassionate care at the end of Bill’s life.