15 May 2009

Farewell To A Hero

William Stamm
November 7, 1916 - May 15, 2009
Milwaukee Fire Department Chief - 1970-1986

Chef Jeff's grandpa passed away today.

We will remember Bill's generous nature, as well as his stories about being a cowboy before he went to work for the Milwaukee Fire Department. Once, he was astride an "un-broke" horse that decided to jump through a V in a tree. The horse made it through - but Bill and the saddle remained. I don't think Bill ever swore in his whole life - even then, though it was weeks before he could walk properly.

Bill came from humble beginnings and was very proud of being 100% Swiss. He never took a drink and never smoked. He sure enjoyed his sweet rolls, though. And brunch. And fancy dinners. That man loved to eat in restaurants.

Bill received an award from the Humane Society in honor of all the animals he saved from fires. Bill traveled to Nicaragua to provide aid after an earthquake. He was a true humani-ani-tarian.

Bill was a Mason and a Shriner. He really loved the Masonic chicken roast picnics held every summer.

Bill's elder brother Eddie passed away just a few weeks ago. The two brothers were best friends and both resided at the Masonic Health Center in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

1921 - back row: Buster Hunziker, Eddie Stamm, Herman Kunz.
Front row: Homer Kunz and Bill Stamm.
The goat, "Billy," belonged to Buster.

Whenever asked how he was doing, Bill would reply, "Can't complain!" Even in the ICU. That's a response I'd do well to remember and imitate.

See ya' round, Bill. Be careful up there bustin' them broncs...


yellowdogknitting said...

Jeff, I'm thinking of you! He sounds like a man I would have loved to meet.

mlanezoo said...

Praying for you Jeff (and Stas)! I agree with Dix, sounds like he was a wonderful person!!

Dawn Dutton said...

Sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you both... Love and prayers, Dawn

Nancy said...

So sorry to hear of Jeff's Grandpa's passing. He sounds like a great guy and a real class act. Think I'll try to remember that "Can't complain" reply myself. Sending hugs your way...

Denise said...

A very heartwarming tribute, Stas. Love the childhood pic with the goat cart! Times like this it's somehow comforting to look back through old family photos, isn't it? Hugs to you and Jeff.