STERLING – William E. Newell, 83, of Sterling, passed away Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, at CGH Medical Center in Sterling.
He was born July 23, 1929, in Sterling, the eldest son of Lester and Ethel (Bowman) Newell. He attended St. Mary Catholic Community High School. He was accepted into St. Ambrose College on a full football scholarship, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology upon graduation in 1951. He also obtained his Master of Science degree in management from the University of Colorado in 1966. He married his high school sweetheart, Rose Mary Droste, on Dec. 29, 1952.
Bill entered the Air Force in 1952, and was a 25-year Air Force fighter pilot. He was a decorated veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. He retired as a colonel in 1967, where he had more than 90 combat missions over North Vietnam.
After his retirement from the USAF, Bill returned to Sterling with his family. He was hired as a senior executive, reporting to the president of National Manufacturers, where he worked for 19 years helping National expand its business. He helped implement the Scanlon Plan for employee bonuses and supervised the construction of all four of the Rock Falls shipping and operations plant buildings. Bill retired from National in 1995. Bill remained an active pilot, and served 16 years on the Board of Directors for the Whiteside County Airport Board, where he made numerous contributions to the growth and development of the airport. He also served on the school board for St. Mary School and Newman Central Catholic High School.
Bill was a loving husband and devoted father to his 10 children. In retirement, Bill and Rose Mary enjoyed spending time at home and visiting with the grandchildren.
Surviving are his wife of 60 years, Rose Mary; and seven sons and three daughters, Paul (Penny) Newell, Kathy (Edward) Conway, Terry (Kim) Newell, Kevin (Cindy Bulka) Newell, Tim (Miles Kalina) Newell, Peter (Lisa) Newell, Karen (Ed) Groleau, Colleen (Steve) Butts, Chuck (Michelle) Newell and John (Bethany) Newell. He also is survived by 11 grandsons, six granddaughters, and two great-grandsons.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Robert.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m., with the rosary recited at 4:30 p.m., Friday at McDonald Funeral Home, 1002 12th Ave., Rock Falls. Celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary Catholic Church in Sterling, with the Rev. James R. Keenan officiating. Private burial with military honors will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Sterling.
A memorial has been established to St. Mary Grade School, Newman Central Catholic High School and the Sterling PADS Shelter.
Visit www.mcdonaldfuneralhomes.com to send condolences.