One in a Million William R. "Bill" Jahnke, 72, of Oro Valley, died following a brief illness on April 27, 2011. He was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 13, 1938 and was cared for lovingly by his mother, her family and his paternal grandparents until her remarriage in 1945 to Richard Harold Jahnke, who happily adopted Bill. Bill's brother Monte followed in 1946, as did his sister, Debbie, in 1952. Following graduation from East Detroit High School in Michigan in 1956, Bill served in the Army at Ft. Carson, Colorado, Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri and with the Army's Nike site at Selfridge Field in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Patriotism remained one of his highest ideals as nutured from those Army days and his appointment to color guard duties, in addition to his administrative responsibilities. He and his guard squad led the opening parade across the then new Mackinaw Bridge joining Michigan's two peninsulas when it opened in the late 1950s. His lifelong aptitude for design, mathematics and engineering blossomed during a training course in automation engineering at the Cross Company in Fraser, Michigan which led him to early qualification as a registered professional engineer, passing a state exam the first time that many do not. His career of nearly thirty five years led to many high level executive engineering and production resonsibilities for principal automation and manufacturing companies, but throughout he maintained his focus and commitment to home and family. Bill served as chief engineer of the Cincinnati Milichron Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Avey Machine Tool Company in Covington, Kentucky, the Bridgeport Machine Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the Cross Company, where he was originally trained. His ensuing career with the Textron Corporation led to several postings around the country and summer sessions at the Harvard Business School. Textron assigned him to refurbish,run and sell Speidel Corporation in Rhode Island, to head up its Textron Filtration Systems Division in Thousand Oaks, California and Holland, Michigan, its Rockford Machine Products Division in Rockford, Illinois, and the engineering section of Bell Helicopter in Dallas, Texas. Other career experiences for this creative and resilient guy included a specialty engineering partnership, Verstand Engineering, in Warren, Michigan and an industrial advertising firm, both affiliations with his long time mentor and friend Ivan French. His experiences took him to Europe frequently, and to Japan and China. He was among the first technical envoys to visit and lecture at Chinese engineering schools following the normalization of diplomatic relations with that country after President Nixon's visit to Chairman Mao. Bill fondly told of sleeping in the hotel suite that had been occupied by Chao En Lai, which Bill found 'interesting' but certainly not up to then minimal American standards. Bill was married to Audrey Ann Pinder in 1958, and lost her to a long battle with cancer in 2008, two weeks shy of their 50th wedding anniversary. Their strength and devotion sustained a strong family of three daughters, despite his career and the relocations totalling some sixteen homes around the country in a period of just over thirty two years. Bill and Audrey were happy to find Oro Valley and their comfortable home on Moore Rd at the end of that journey. It became the site of many gatherings with family and friends, including the holiday spectaculars for grand children known as "Camp Tucson", which were preceded by their "Camp Utah" experiences when the two of them lived in St. George. Bill loved fishing, and fly fishing in the west and midwest in particular, hiking in Utah and the Catalinas, biking, riding his 'classic soft tail' Harley Davidson motorcycle, and several cherised family dogs over the years. He recently lived the dream of flying in a World War II trainer in Mesa courtesy of his grandchildren and he was planning a parachute jump for May of this year. Bill married Connie Lou Jahnke in December of 2009 and enjoyed an all too brief but wonderful marriage. Their devotion to one another and their combined families was apparent to all, as was their commitment to the Interfaith Community Services Food Bank in Oro Valley. Their friends at the Oro Valley Church of Christ have been a sustaining force to them, especially during Bill's final illness. Bill is otherwise survived by his mother June, 91, one of the true Rosie the Riviter gals of World War II who was an engineering assistant at the Willow Run Bomber Plant (B-24s) in Ypsilanti, Michigan where she met Richard. June, and Bill's sister Debbie (Jerome) Steele live in Lake Worth, Florida. Bill's brother Monte (Diane) resides in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Bill's daughters and their families are located across the west: Kelly Lynn (Steve) Snider of Cave Creek, Arizona.; Kristine Marie (John) Clagett of Ft. Collins, Colorado; and Kathrine Ann (Matt) Kilton of Bellevue, Washington. They are the proud parents of seven grandchildren, each of whom were special objects of Bill's affection over the years: Samantha and Ben Snider; Allison, Katie and Carly Clagett and Mack and Liam Kilton. With Connie he gained even more: two sons, Kevin and Shawn Steinle of Lincoln, Nebraska and Kalispel, Montana respectively, and two grandchildren, Halie and Karter Steinle of Concordia, Kansas. Bill's big SUV clocked many a mile keeping up with this brood. All will miss him but are strengthened by the love and good humor of "Papa", and are the better each day because of him. He truly was One in a Million, and led a life of unique experiences displaying many obvious and varied talents. In retirement, golf and tennis gave way to the activities noted above and to sculpting in various rock media which led to the sale of several pieces with religous and native American themes under the name of "Whistling Eagle/Carver of Stone". (He whistled and sang a lot of Sinatra). Although Bill could no doubt have sold many more of his pieces at Tubac than he did, he generously gave many to friends and family who cherish these fine objects in their homes across the country. He even dabbled in mural painting and wall hangings, and we were all wondering (and some were concerned!) about what might have been next. He died of unique circumstances. Having beaten rounds of cancer, he was hale and hearty, exercising and in great shape, only to be felled by a rare disorder that strikes one in one million worldwide annually, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Following excellent work at the University Medical Center, he received loving care at the Casa de la Luz Hospice in Tucson. Bill died quietly with family present. Special thanks and admiration go to nurses Rob, Cheryl, Sharon, and to Gina, Kim and others on the staff. A memorial service will be scheduled following cremation. Notice will appear on this site. Memorials may be made to the following organizations: Casa de la Luz http://www.casafoundation.org/donations.html CJD Foundation http://www.cjdfoundation.org/donations.html ICS Food Bank 2820 West Ina Road Tucson, AZ 85741 This biography courtesy of Monte D. Jahnke, the little brother.