William E. Feurer, 84, of Springfield, passed away on June 23, 2019 in the loving embrace of his friends and family.
He was born on August 5, 1934 in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. His parents were William E. Feurer Sr. and Dortha A. Murphy Feurer.
William Feurer and Judith Pensoneau were married 25 years ago in the historic gazebo pavilion in Washington Park, Springfield.
He is survived by his wife, Judith; his children Jeff Feurer (Michelle) of Sherman and Timothy Feurer (Irma) of Springfield; his wife’s children, Jennifer Paul (Marty) of Springfield and Taylor Terry Pensoneau (Pamela) of Castle Rock Colo.; and five grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Lynn Ellen Didesch (Theodore), and nephew, Bill Didesch; and Judith’s brother Rod Hopper in Sarasota, Fla.
When Bill was nine years old, his family moved to Mexico, Mo., where he learned to love basketball, which he played for the next seven decades. The family returned to Illinois and settled in Park Forest. Bill graduated from Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights. Using a Naval scholarship, he advanced to college, first attending Rice University and then transferring to the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. He received a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Missouri in 1959.
While in college, he was a member of the Naval ROTC. He was on active duty for three years on the USS Maloy, a Buckley Class destroyer escort based in New London, Conn., operating in the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He served in the Naval Reserve for 17 years. He continued his service as a Blue and Gold officer, interviewing potential Naval Academy inductees.
After active duty in the Navy, he worked in the Springfield office of United Press International (UPI). In 1962, he joined the staff of Governor Otto Kerner as Assistant Press Secretary. He served as liaison to the press and speechwriter.
Bill attended the University of Illinois School of Law in 1968 and received a Juris Doctor and the Order of the Coif, awarded to the top 10 percent of graduates. Bill began the practice of law in Springfield in 1971. For many years he served as Counsel for the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He was also honored by the Illinois General Assembly for his life time of service to Illinois.
He served as President of the Urban League, Chair of the Copley First Citizens Award Committee, and Chair of the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. He held several positions with the Downtown Rotary Club of Springfield and as President, he was instrumental in bringing women members into the organization for the first time. He served on the Board of SPARC, an organization serving individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities, and received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from that organization.
Visitation was July 1 at the First United Methodist Church of Springfield. The Celebration of Life Service was officiated by Dr. Roger Grimmett. A private service with Full Military Honors was at Camp Butler National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the First United Methodist Church, designated for the “Bill Feurer Christian Leadership Fund.”