Faculty image William B. Stegath Instructor & Lecturer, Department of Speech 1947-1951 University Broadcasting Services "Voice of the Wolverines"

William Bruce Stegath Obituary, April 14, 1920 – March 29, 2017

William “Bill” Stegath was a loving husband and father, energetic grandfather and great-grandfather, a communicator, teacher, life-long learner, loyal friend and proud University of Michigan Alum.

Born in Escanaba, Michigan to Gideon R. and Mellicent (Molloy) Stegath, Bill’s idyllic childhood was spent in the great pine forests of the Upper Peninsula along the shores of Lake Michigan. During the Depression, he helped out in the family lumber business; and by the tender age of 14 he was delivering coal in the company truck. Often Bill’s father deferred or waived payments from people struggling during those hard times. Bill never forgot the impact of these simple acts of generosity.

Bill left his beloved Upper Peninsula in 1938 to enroll in the University of Michigan, where he would eventually earn his BA (’42), AM (’49) and PhD (’61). However, World War II intervened and on July 28, 1943 Bill joined the Army Air Corps as a raw recruit. He emerged 2 years later as a skilled pilot with the rank of Major, having flown 50 combat missions in the B-24 ‘Liberator’ with the 15th Air Force. 

Following his tour of duty, Bill returned to Michigan to pursue his graduate degrees and he began a lifelong career with the University, serving as an instructor and lecturer in the Department of Speech from 1947 through 1951. In 1952, Bill joined the University Broadcasting Service where he became known as the ‘Voice of the Wolverines’, announcing Michigan football games on WUOM from 1953 to 1963 and serving as the station’s production and sports director. Also announcing Michigan hockey, basketball and baseball, he was quite literally a ‘U-M Man for All Seasons’. In that time, Bill won 8 national broadcasting awards. He was added to the Michigan Stadium Media Hall of Fame in September 2016.

Bill changed his career path in July 1962, joining the University of Michigan Alumni Association where he was Director of Field Activities, Director of School and College Services, Director of Special Programs and Staff Representative to the worldwide U-M Alumni Travel Program over the course of 20 plus years. He served as the first director of Camp Michigania on Walloon Lake and was active in the programming of the Swiss version of the Alumni family camp for more than a decade. Bill was also the faculty adviser to the Michigan Men’s Glee Club, a nod to his participation in campus plays and productions during his college days.

Although he traveled frequently for the Alumni Association, Bill always made time for his daughters. He held the position of President of the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club and was production director and announcer for many of the Melody on Ice shows in which the girls performed. 

Following his career with the University, Bill jumped headlong into a number of other endeavors. He explored his fascination with the sky and stars through the Low-Brow Astronomer’s Club, and led neighborhood star talks. He expanded his interest in photography into a business, and his photos have frequently appeared in University publications, and in numerous exhibitions. His photography work focused on his love of the U-M campus, and the beauty of nature, most notably birds and flowers. A dedicated member and past president of the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor, Bill was a two time recipient of Rotary International’s Distinguished Service Award and an honorary Paul Harris Fellow. He was also on the Club’s bowling team, remarkably bowling a 237 game at the age of 91. He was an enthusiastic golfer and a long time member of the U of M Radrick Farms Golf Club.

Bill was preceded in death by his beloved wife Ruth Virginia ‘Ginny’ Stegath, brother Charles Austin Stegath, and sister Pauline Franke. He is survived by his brother G.R. ‘Bud’ Stegath Jr, daughters Marcia Dorr, Sarah (Tom) Sterkel and Pam (Mike) Wilson, grandchildren Steg Dorr, Adam Dorr (Stephanie Benson), Kelsy Wilson (Jonathan Moretto) and Tenley Sterkel, and great-granddaughter Misora Dorr. 


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