William Joseph ‘Bill’ Bollwerk
beloved father, brother, grandfather, and friend, passed away at age 86 on Thursday, June 1, 2023 after a short battle with bladder cancer.
Bill was born August 8th, 1936, in St. Louis to Emil Herman Bollwerk and Virginia (Steinlage) Bollwerk. As a young boy, Bill spent World War II with his parents at March Field, CA where he was proud to serve as batboy for the 420th Army Air Forces team. After the war, Bill attended Our Lady of Lourdes School and developed a love for basketball, shoveling snow with friends to play in any weather. In 1952, while attending Saint Louis University High School, Bill’s father died of cancer. SLUH Jesuits, most notably Father McQueeney and Father Padberg, supported and mentored Bill helping him graduate in 1954 and captain his beloved Jr. Billiken’s team. He went on to Regis College in Denver on a basketball scholarship, where he competed against notables Elgin Baylor and Bob Gibson, graduating in 1958. Bill spent an exchange summer in Switzerland with the Busslingers, his “Swiss family”, remaining close for the rest of his life. Lifeguarding at Heman Park one summer, Bill met Mary Dorothy Murphy, his wife of 26 years and mother of his three children.
Bill served with the Missouri Air National Guard in France during the Cuban Missile Crisis, had a career in real estate among other endeavors, and eventually followed his passion in development to become a director of major gifts for Saint Louis University and Marian Middle School.
Bill lived his life grateful and aware of his blessings, writing once, “I remind myself frequently that I feel like a rich man without a lot of money, blessed with good health, loving children and grandchildren, a challenging and fulfilling job, a wonderful place to worship, special relationships and more than my fair share of good friends.” Among his fondest memories was walking both sisters down the aisle and hearing them say, “Dad would be proud of you.” He coached teams, made lunches, and played catch. He brought a twinkle in his eye and a delight in conversation. We will remember him swimming laps, working in the yard, doing dishes and savoring treats from gooey butter to frozen custard.
Bill is survived by his sisters Barb (Mark) Roddy and Kay (Rob) Kaiser, daughters Teresa (Mike) O’Brien of Michigan and Karen (Bill) Burke of Maine, son Billy (Ashley) of Georgia, grandchildren Christopher Burke, Erin Burke, William Bollwerk, Rose O’Brien, Charlie Bollwerk and Julia Bollwerk, nieces and nephews, beloved friends and special friends Kay Barnes and Claudine Huether.
Services: Visitation and funeral Mass will be held Tuesday, June 13 at St. Francis Xavier College Church at Saint Louis University, 3628 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108. Visitation at 9:15 a.m. with the Mass to follow at 10:30 a.m. with a Celebration of Life and Reception immediately following. Parking available at the Laclede Garage, Laclede and Grand. In lieu of flowers, Bill requested contributions be made to St. Francis Xavier College Church Social Ministry at sfxstl.org or mailed to the church address above.