William “Bill” J. Federbusch of Red Wing, Minnesota, died peacefully at home Sept. 28, 2017, at age 73, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Born in Chicago, July 19, 1944, to William “Dutch” and Caryl Federbusch, Bill grew up on the south side and attended Mendel High School. He earned a degree in business from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona in 1966.
After college, Bill received his commission into the U.S. Navy and underwent flight training in Pensacola, Florida. He had hoped to fly jets but was transferred to the naval communications office at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. He was an officer with high-level security clearance in charge of computer development of message encrypting.
A self-starter with a lifelong love of learning, Bill returned to Minnesota and became an accomplished marketing and sales professional in the field of information technology. Bill would often pilot his own plane to business meetings around the Midwest. During his three-decade career, Bill worked for several prominent global corporations, including Teknekron Infoswitch, Rockwell International and Cisco Systems. Bill took joy not only in improving his clients’ businesses but also in developing lasting friendships with his clients and colleagues.
September 17, 1999, he married the love of his life Phyllis Ann Campbell at the Church of St. Patrick in Edina, Minnesota. On their first date, Bill took Phyllis flying to test her sense of adventure. She passed. Bill had found a willing copilot and first mate. The couple traveled extensively, boating on Lake Minnetonka and the Mississippi River, backpacking and canoeing through the Boundary Waters and taking coast-to-coast road trips to visit scenic areas and national parks.
They lived in Minneapolis before moving to Red Wing in 2000 and spent considerable time in Wisconsin Dells. In fact, Bill visited at the Dells every year of his life, spending summers at his family’s cabin Black Hawk’s Roost. As a boy, he learned to fish, boat and water ski on the Wisconsin River. Calling himself a “river rat,” Bill was happiest when he was at his beloved cottage in the Dells.
A true renaissance man, Bill loved music and taught himself to play the drums, bass and guitar and played in a big band in college. He was active throughout his life as a runner, scuba diver, pilot and cross-country skier. But his favorite activities were boating and sailing. Every spring for 20 years he went on long sailing trips around the Caribbean with his brother, cousin and friends. He once sailed a catamaran from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.
Whether it was sales quotas, personal fitness goals, or simply fixing something with his own hands, Bill was driven by a never-quit attitude. As a result, retirement was elusive for Bill. The first two times he tried to retire, it didn’t last because, he said, all his peers were still working so there was no one to play with. He was lured out of retirement one last time to join a startup called OnState Communications, where he enjoyed meeting with investors around the country and putting all his first-class business skills back into practice.
When Bill finally did retire, he didn’t slow down. He worked as a boat captain giving tours in the Dells. Bill also tackled a long-time goal of starting his own business, opening BlackHawk Photography in 2011. Bill was a photographer throughout his adult life and spent his years in retirement honing his craft, creating striking and impactful images. His photographs and stories have been featured in several regional publications and exhibited in many local galleries and shows.
Bill strived to catch “the moment” or the “essence” of his subjects and found particular joy in capturing iconic images of the Wisconsin Dells region, especially Cold Water Canyon a short hike from his cabin. Bill’s photojournalism lead to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources establishing a significant public safety initiative on the Wisconsin River.
An active member of his community, Bill served on the boards of the Anderson Center, the Wacouta Township, the Red Wing Photography Club and the Red Wing Republican Eagle Reader Board. He was a member of the Elks and the YMCA. He taught faith formation at The Church of St. Joseph and classes in photography for Red Wing Community Education, the Red Wing Photography Club, and Community Education in the Wisconsin Dells. He also received the Golden Quill Award for his commentary in the Republican Eagle.
He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather and uncle and a trusted neighbor, classmate, colleague and friend. As a storyteller, a patient teacher, a good listener and a sage adviser, Bill enriched the lives of all he encountered and he will be deeply missed.
He is survived by his wife, Phyllis; daughter, Elizabeth Landis (Lonhyn Jasinskyj); son, William Sean; brother, John; grandchildren, Jack and Brooklyn Landis, William Cole and Taj Federbusch and Peter, Julia and Katherine Jasinskyj; his lifelong friend, Emil Scarano; many cousins; and in-laws.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; and cousin, Thom.
Mass of Resurrection was held at 11 a.m., Friday, Oct. 6, at the Church of St. Joseph in Red Wing, Minnesota, with Father James Russell presiding. The visitation took place from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., Thursday, with a 7:30 p.m. prayer service at the Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel and at the church from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Friday prior to the service. Interment with full military honors followed at Calvary Cemetery. A second memorial service will be held in the Wisconsin Dells at a future date.
Memorial gifts may be made to Stewards of the Dells of the Wisconsin River, the Red Wing Elks Youth Camp, and the Red Wing YMCA.
The family would like to thank the staff of Mayo Clinic of Rochester and Red Wing Hospice along with friends and neighbors for their care of Bill during his final months.