William G. Haller, 76, “Bill” passed away at home on August 27, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Eloise; daughter Stephanie of Portland, OR; stepsons Darren Olson (Amy) of Chicago, IL and Garrett Olson (Cathleen) of River Forest, IL; and his beloved step grandchildren Alessia, Bruno, Jonathan, and Julia. Bill loved them as his own, just as they likewise loved him.
Bill was born on October 4, 1941 in Dayton, OH. He will be remembered for his quick wit, insatiable curiosity, and zest for life. He greeted every day singing ‘Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, My, oh, my, what a wonderful day’. His daily goal was to bring a smile and a laugh to anyone having a ‘bad hair day’.
A self-made entrepreneur, he created two thriving companies in the Chicago area. He was proud that he was able to employ so many good people and to help them and their families prosper.
Bill and his daughter Stephanie, along with family and friends, spent some summers camping, usually in the Porkies or Boundary Waters. But Bill soon fell in love with the Copper Country, its people, its history, and its rocks. While vacationing in Houghton, he read about the ‘ghost town’ of Senter and the DuPont (later Atlas) Powder plant there. Always curious, he first checked MTU Archives for information, and then he began interviewing everyone he could find who worked at Atlas or knew something about Atlas. After one of his interviewees said that he had to write a book about Atlas and the dynamite industry so that his grandchildren would know that forgotten history, Bill self-published Atlas Powder, Senter, MI in 2007. The next few years were devoted to giving presentations at MTU, churches groups, community centers, and local schools. Wanting to enrich the knowledge of the history of the Copper Country, Bill donated copies of the book to all of the schools and libraries in the area.
Never one to sit still for long, Bill created and started giving a presentation on the Isle Royale Mine ‘Beneath our Feet and around our School’ to the Houghton High school history students, always admonishing them not to jump too hard in gym class!
If Bill ever did have free time he enjoyed “tinkering” around his work shop that he affectionally called The Barn. No project was too big to take on, particularly if he was building it for his grandchildren. Each time when the grandchildren would come up to visit, Bill had built something new for them to play with or on: a giant sandbox, a 2-story log cabin with a fireman’s pole, a zip line, a play house and much more. It was hard to tell who enjoyed these projects more, Bill when he was building them or the grandchildren when they were playing on them.
He will be missed by all whose lives he touched. At Bill’s request, there will be no service. No flowers please; donations to remember Bill may be made to Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly or to a charity of your choice. Oh, and best of all, when you think of Bill, be sure to brighten someone’s day.
To view Bill’s obituary or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.memorialchapel.net
The Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Home of Hancock have been assisting the family.