Former South Grade School Principal Succumbs to Ladder Fall

Bill Fetzner, the former Principal of South Grade School and most recently before his retirement in charge of buildings, died during surgery following a fall from a ladder at his home.

South Elementary School, where Bill Fetzner was Principal.

Fetzner’s son Rob currently serves on the District 47 School Board.

Fetzner was a grade school girls’ softball coach for my niece. My sister remembered that he would give signal after signal to her until he got her to smile and, only then, would give her the real sign.

The obituary follows:

William G. Fetzner, 62, of Crystal Lake, Illinois, passed away Friday, August 26, 2011 following a fall at his home.

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother and friend, Bill was born April 11, 1949, in Chicago, Illinois, the son of William C. and Ethel (West) Fetzner.  He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Thomas.

Bill married Mary Howard, the love of his life, on August 2,1969. They celebrated their 42nd anniversary earlier this month.

A lifelong educator, Bill received his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University, followed by his master’s degree from Northern Illinois University.

His entire professional life was devoted to the children and families of Crystal Lake’s District 47.

Bill taught at North Junior High School where he also served as assistant principal and then was assistant principal at Husmann Elementary.

Next he was named principal of South Elementary, the youngest principal ever hired in the district at that time.

He then served as Assistant Superintendent of Operations, overseeing the rapidly expanding school district, including major renovations of North Middle School and Husmann, and the construction of three new elementary schools and one middle school before retiring in 2005.

Bill’s constant motto was “Children Come First” – a saying he lived out each day as a teacher, principal, and mentor.

Bill also coached  baseball, soft ball and football- not only with his own children but many community children as well.

He leaves an enduring legacy of love for children, respect for those who educate them and pride in the important job of helping all children achieve their potential.

An avid outdoorsman, Bill loved fishing, hunting and birdwatching – hobbies he pursued with joy in his retirement.

Bill is survived by his loving family: wife Mary, son Rob(Jessica) Fetzner and daughter Katie (Casey) Coss; granddaughters Ashley,Chloe, Hannah and Caroline and grandson Drew; brother Jim (Joanne); sister-in-law Jeanne (Rhondal) and his many nephews and nieces.

Bill was the rock upon which his family depended and a source of unending love and support for each one of them.

Bill’s retirement years were especially joyful because of the time he spent with the grandchildren he adored.

lthough he can never be replaced, his family is comforted by the kindness of their many friends and family. In lieu of flowers, they ask that others honor Bill with contributions to the American Diabetes Association.

The family will hold a private internment but invite those who love and remember Bill to visit with the family at Davenport Family Funeral Home, 419 E. Terra Cotta Avenue (Route 176), Crystal Lake, Illinois from 4:00 to 8:00 pm, Wednesday, August 31, 2011.


Former South Grade School Principal Succumbs to Ladder Fall — 2 Comments

  1. A man who truly loved life and always wanted the best for everyone else.

    I will miss hearing him say “Hang in there” but will smile every time I hear those words and think of this great man.

    You are missed Bill but the world is a better place because you were in it…

  2. What a loss to the educational field. He was the first one I talked to at South Elementary in l989 when I “interviewed” there 22 years ago.

    He made sure the SEDOM Deaf and Hard of Hearing children were very much a part of that school, accepted and loved, as they still are 22 years later.

    I am a better person just for knowing him the little that I did.

    Everytime I talked to him or heard him speak, he enlightened me.

    Crystal Lake has lost a great guy, I am honored to be teaching my last of 39 years next to his plaque on South School’s hall wall, and I will always remember his “everything is beautiful”.

    My deepest sympathy to his family. We loved him at South!!!! He has a powerful, huge legacy that I will always admire! Andrea Bedell

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