EVERGREEN, Colo. William Marshall "Bill" Meister, 67, of Evergreen, died Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Denver.
Born in Cumberland, on Feb. 15, 1949, Bill was the son of the late Charles Marshall and Dorothy Virginia (Frye) Meister of Cumberland.
Bill was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2010 and, over the final years of his treatment, volunteered for numerous clinical trials that he hoped would enable doctors to find a cure for this cancer. The cause of death was treatment-induced leukemia.
Bill is survived by his wife, Wendy (Jones) Meister of Evergreen; and son, William Marshall "Will" Meister Jr. and daughter-in-law, Danielle (Stern) Meister of Albuquerque, N.M. Bill and Wendy moved to Colorado in January 1977 and married March 18, 1977.
In his early years in Cumberland, Bill attended Trinity Lutheran Church on N. Centre St., a church Bill's paternal great-grandparents helped build. He and his family also enjoyed spending time at their "farm" in Oldtown. As he grew his sports accomplishments became known in the region.
Bill was a life-long athlete beginning with Dapper Dan Little League Baseball's Phillies through high school sports at Fort Hill as an All-American. Those who knew the Meister family may recall that Bill's mother, Dot, was his most enthusiastic fan. Bill graduated with Fort Hill High School's class of 1967. He then attended the University of Maryland on an athletic scholarship where he played football as an offensive guard, also All-American, and was co-captain his final season.
Bill and other local male athletes provided points of pride for their relatives and for the Cumberland area. Amid the pre-Title IX culture of the era, there were fewer girls' and women's team sports in which to participate and for which to cheer. During Bill's high school and college years, athletes were bright spots in newspaper coverage alongside otherwise grim national news which included reports about the Vietnam War, college campus protests, riots, and the devastating losses of lives of young men who had either volunteered for or been drafted into military service. People in the area knew or knew of the high schools' coaches and avidly read news of and talked about students' exploits. With fewer television stations, local high school sports games brought out not only the athletes' parents and their families, current students, and some alumni, but also members of the community. When Bill's uncle says, "Everybody knew Bill Meister," he is speaking of a time when almost everyone in Cumberland either knew Bill or had watched him in games or had read articles about him or had heard people talking about him.
Bill played high school football during a time of pageantry in Cumberland when the city was decorated for the Thanksgiving Day "Turkey Day" game with Fort Hill's red and white and cross-town rival Allegany's blue and white. Feasts had to wait. Marching bands, drill teams, baton-twirling majorettes, cheerleaders, queens and courts, mums pinned to women's coats, crowds roaring, smells of concessions, and a few pranks, were the staging around and for the heroes who ran to the field through lines of pep club students to burst through painted signs to give their all for their teams and their fans. Fans were also dazzled by splendid halftime performances.
Within a few years of graduating from college and working in the Washington, D.C. metro area, a love of the outdoors and of mountains drew Bill & Wendy to the active lifestyle in Colorado. Bill loved to hike Evergreen Meadow, Bergen Peak, and Mount Evans Wilderness Area with his black lab, Ranger. Later in life he also enjoyed the time he spent bird-watching. Most of all, Bill loved to spend time with his family and close friends sharing stories and cultivating lifelong friendships.
With his poise from athletic experiences and his good-natured personality, Bill had a successful career in sales serving with several companies selling their products or services. Bill retired from HomeAdvisor.
Among Bill's many friends in Cumberland, James Sinsel "Jim" Stafford and Bill were like brothers over the years. Jim's wife, Kathleen "Kathy" (Maxey) Stafford introduced Bill to Wendy at the University of Maryland. Their families remained close. The Staffords helped keep Bill in touch with Cumberland friends.
Other survivors include Bill's sister, Denise R. Meister and brother-in-law, Richard Eric Chancellor of Falls Church, Va.; nephew, Richard M. Chancellor, also of Falls Church; niece, Erin M. Chancellor of Richmond, Va.; beloved uncle, Robert L. "Bub" Frye of Ridgeley, W.Va.; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Barbara (Jones) and Robin Thorum of Weems, Va.; cousins, friends, neighbors, classmates, teammates, and some of his coaches. A shout-out is offered to Richard Bittner as well as to the many other coaches who influenced Bill and nurtured his athleticism, leadership, and character.
Bill's Uncle Bub says Bill was a great guy, a great athlete, and a great friend.
Bill put people at ease. He asked about them, listened to their stories, and laughed wholeheartedly with them. He loved them and they loved him. An adoring husband and a devoted father, he will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
Bill donated his body to help find a cure. He privately went through all sorts of treatments and donated his body after his death for study. He wanted to help others. He was memorialized in a small, private ceremony Dec. 9, 2016, at his home in Evergreen.
The family requests donations in Bill's memory be kept locally in Cumberland or in the greater Cumberland area and region. Bill would have appreciated supporting youth and sports.
Published on May 11, 2017