SHELL LAKE, Wis. — William “Bill” C. Albright, 83, of Shell Lake died Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, at Benedictine Living Center in Spooner, Wis.
He was born April 4, 1929, in Racine, Wis. to Charles and Anna (Svec) Albright.
Bill graduated from Racine Horlick High School, where he competed on the football, basketball and track teams. In 1946 he was named to the All-State Team as a tackle and also held the school shot put record for nearly 40 years. Bill was elected to the Shrine High School Team and competed in the second annual game at Madison in 1947.
He enrolled at UW-Madison and received five major Ws while on the football and track teams. The 1950 Look All-American Football Team listed him as one of five defensive tackles on the team that were chosen by Grantland Rice and other sports writers. While in college he served in the Platoon Leader’s Course of the U.S. Marine Corps for a brief period of time. He received a BA Degree in 1952.
Bill was drafted by the New York Giants and played for them for four seasons. The Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League then lured him north with a substantial increase in salary. He played for four more seasons until an injury forced his retirement. Bill was the team captain and named All-Pro three of those four years.
On April 21, 1951, he married the former Eleanor Eckblad in a ceremony performed by her grandfather, who was a retired Methodist minister. To this union four children were born; Kristine, William C, Patricia, and Jon David.
Bill was a member of the United Methodist Church, having served in various positions. When the new church building was erected, he served on the Board of Trustees. Bill loved to fly and earned his pilot’s license when he was 50 years of age. He served as an officer of the Lake Point Aero Club, EAA Chapter 631 and helped organize the annual fly-in breakfast held every year at the Shell Lake Airport. Bill was also a member of the NFL Alumni, NFL Retired Players Assoc., UW National W Club, and was the 1999 Citizen of the year in Shell Lake.
Bill and Ellie first came to Shell Lake in 1959 when he had retired from football. They bought a small cabin on Elwood Beach. They would live there during the summers and return to the La Crosse area in the fall. Bill worked in agricultural chemical sales.
In 1970 they bought Vi’s Resort on Shell Lake and moved there. Bill worked as a social worker for Washburn County for 13 years before selling the resort and going back to ag. chemical sales on a part time basis. Ellie and Bill spent their winters in the Corpus Christi area of Texas. In 1992 Bill retired and returned to Shell Lake for good.
Bill said it was a great trip and he truly loved his Ellie and his children. Family was very important to him. His request was to not grieve but rather celebrate his life.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years; Eleanor of Shell Lake; two daughters, Kristine (Nick) Hengel of Onalask, and Patricia Albright (Les Olsen) of Timberland, Wis.; two sons, William, Jr. (Laura) Albright of Willard, Utah, and Capt. Jon David (Elisabeth Langmack) Albright, USN of Leonardtown, Md.; five grandchildren, Garrett Hengel, Gretchen Haynes, Anya Albright, Hanah and Emma Albright; and 1 great -grandson, Phoenix Haynes.
Bill was preceded in death by his sisters; baby, Patricia Albright; and Elaine Axtell of Racine.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 26 at Shell Lake United Methodist Church with the Rev. Greg Harrell officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service.
Visitation and time to say goodbye will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 at the Skinner Funeral Home in Shell Lake.
Memorials are appreciated to the Happy Days Alzheimer’s group in Spooner or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 800-822-8535. skinnnerfh.com.