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William L. Fesler
A long-time denizen of Akron devoted to community and country, known equally well by his friends and family as a legendary teller of jokes and the life of every party he attended, William Louis Fesler died November 20th at the age of 95.
Born on June 29,1928 to Vivian Woodliff and Louis Stoesser in Gadsden, Alabama, Bill was a direct descendent of Virginia’s founding family. It was Bill’s ancestor, Captain John Woodliff of England, who was formally recognized by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 as having officially celebrated this nation’s first Thanksgiving in 1619.
Raised during the Great Depression in a cottage at Akron’s Portage Lakes, Bill described those idyllic years spent fishing, swimming, sledding and ice skating as a young boy’s dream. He remembered Cormany’s Landing, just 75 yards from his cottage, offering a sandy beach, boat rentals, spaghetti dinners, bingo and dancing to such legendary Big Bands the likes of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. Left-handed, Bill also became the marble champion of the Portage Lakes, playing right-handed and “for keeps.”
No stranger to hard work, nine-year-old Billy began his versatile business career by selling day-old Kistler doughnuts door-to-door. Later a resident of Highland Square, he continued working at Aster Meats (later Acme) to help his family throughout his years at West High School (where he was a swimmer) and to pay for college at Kent State University, where he received his BA in Political Science and was elected Duke of Kent. During the Korean War, Bill served in the U.S. Air Force as a reader of reconnaissance maps.
As an adult, Bill worked in management roles for many prestigious companies including First National Bank of Akron, B.F. Goodrich Co., The Akron Savings and Loan Company, National City Bank and Mogen Commercial Real Estate. He was a past president of Kiwanis, American Society for Healthcare Human Resources, Toastmasters and Sons of the American Revolution. Additionally, he logged countless hours on behalf of Goodwill Industries, United Way, Junior Achievement, the United Negro College Fund and the Akron Urban League.
After family and community, Bill counted his next loves as golf and poker, treasuring his golf buddies from Fairlawn Country Club where he won a coveted Green Jacket tournament and basking in his status as the last surviving member of his Blue Ray poker club, started at Young’s Hotel in 1954. Bill also loved his Cleveland Browns through thick and thin and rooted for the Guardians and Cavaliers, as well as the Ohio State Buckeyes, frequently making a party out of traveling with his wife, Elizabeth, and friends to Columbus and back.
Avid world travelers, Bill and Elizabeth enthusiastically toured every continent except South America. Well-matched dance partners, the active couple were known to turn heads at parties and even gave younger tennis club friends a run for their money through the years. Never missing a Cleveland Orchestra concert at Blossom Center, hosting Beethoven birthday parties, needlepointing, collecting hats and entertaining were all among Bill’s passionate pursuits.
In summing up his life’s philosophy, Bill singled out a quote from the writer Hunter S. Thompson: “Life should not be a journey to a grave with the intention arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body but, rather, to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!”
Preceded in death by his mother, Vivian Woodliff Fesler, step-father C. Edward Fesler, father- and mother-in-law Raymond and Mary Cosetti, son-in-law Richard Bruns and brother-in-law Judge Joseph Cosetti, William Fesler is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Dr. Elizabeth Cosetti Fesler, daughter and son-in-law Kim Bruns Burkins and Kenneth Burkins of Akron, grandson Christopher William Bruns (Dominique) of Cleveland, step-granddaughter Emily Adams (Mark) of Westlake, step-grandson Trevor Burkins of Austin, TX, step-great-granddaughters Kendall and Morgan Adams, sister-in-law Dr. Marilyn Sullivan Cosetti of Pittsburgh, niece Dr. Maura Cosetti (Vikas) of New York, NY, nephew John Cosetti (Kim) of Pound Ridge, NY, cousin John Woodliff of Uniontown and the remaining members of Bill’s beloved R.O.M.E.O.s (Retired Older Men Eating Out).
Bill’s family extends its heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the exceptional Assisted Living nurses, aides and staff at Rockynol Ohio Living.
The family will receive guests at 9:15AM before a 10:00AM Memorial Service on SATURDAY, December 2 at The First Congregational Church of Akron, 292 E. Market St., Akron, OH 44308. Interment will follow at Rose Hill.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The First Congregational Church in Bill’s memory.
Services in care of The Billow Funeral Homes & Crematory, Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road, Akron, OH 44333.