Music 27

William G. Kressmann

March 30, 1949 ~ October 31, 2022 (age 73)


William G. Kressmann died at his home in Georgetown, MA, on October 31 at age 73, after living the past six years with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a lung disease of unknown cause.
Over the years Bill was a broadcaster, nonprofit marketing specialist, and commercial music composer. His creative talents and musical gifts served his over-40-year career in the media, and love of his family brought joy to his life not only during those years and retirement but through his last moments, with wife Marcia and daughters Llora and Kari by his side.

Born in Berkeley, CA, he was encouraged by his parents to learn a variety of music and not only played classical piano in student recitals at the internationally known Berkeley Piano Club but was a regular drummer in amateur rock bands, which were in demand in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 60’s at dances and private parties. At San Francisco State University Bill majored in Broadcast Communications, especially television directing, but was bitten by the radio bug at the campus radio station. Although military service in the U.S. Army delayed a radio career, he was stationed at Fort Riley KS from 1969 to 1972, and there he was able to use his writing skills as editor of the post newspaper and Commanding General’s Liaison to its civilian publisher.

Later, as Post Music Director, he helped organize and secure Pentagon funding for a series of on-base “music learning centers” where enlisted personnel could learn and use musical instruments. He also earned extra cash, and fat tips, as pianist in the lounge at the base officer's club. Upon his army discharge Bill did everything from disk jockey, Program Director, and Executive Producer jobs in radio to composition and production of themes for television, including themes for the Chicago Bulls and Big Eight Conference televised games, as well as hundreds of radio and TV commercials using his own scores and his own piano and drum performances, multi-tracked on an ARP 2500 music synthesizer.

In 1975 he was hired away to New England, which he never left, and after several announcer, Program Director, and executive positions in suburban Boston and Portsmouth, he enjoyed 13 years as morning drive news anchor and commercial production specialist at Boston soft rock station WSSH-FM, “Wish 99.5.”

In 1990, while still at WSSH-FM, he co-founded Alliance Media, the first company in New England to help nonprofit organizations build capacity and advance their missions through fundraising and community education video productions, multi-image productions, and print materials. Over the next 22 years, Bill and his business partner, Marcia Biddle, helped Massachusetts nonprofits
raise millions of dollars to build new classrooms, hospice residences, and endowments, and change attitudes and awareness about learning disabilities, public health issues, and the environment. Alliance Media won national and international awards for the excellence of its creations for the nonprofit sector and would become the summit of his career. The two served their largely Boston-area clients until 2012, when business partners became life partners. They were married in June of that year and spent the rest of the decade enjoying their beautiful home in Georgetown, vacationing on both coasts, and traveling in Europe -- primarily France and Norway, where they each have relatives. Their life together was full of love, humor, and music.

In addition to his wife Marcia, he is survived by daughter Llora Kressmann of Dover, NH, and aunt Virginia Davis of Hughson, CA, and by Marcia’s family: daughter Kari Hoddeson and Ron Teel of
Georgetown (and children Emily, Ronnie, and Gillian), son Ross Biddle and Megan Biddle of Bethel, CT, (and children Violet and Rex), and Marcia’s Norwegian family, who developed a bond with Bill as the Kressmanns and Hansens traded a number of visits back and forth across the ocean.

From his wife Marcia . . . . . . Bill and I were incorrigibly happy. He never ceased being strong and positive and helped me be the same. With each downturn in his health, we reinvented our everyday life and focused on things we could find joy in. We had nearly six years from his IPF diagnosis to adjust to the inevitable, live and love life fully, and be able in the end – with the support of our Palliative Care Team, Hospice Team, and wonderful kids – to achieve a peaceful and grateful letting go.

From his daughter Llora . . . . . . My dad was a man of great talent, humor, and the best voice I’ve ever known. He had a great passion for the things and people he loved and, even at the difficult end of a difficult disease, he never lost his sense of humor and felt only satisfaction and gratitude for his life. He’d often said to me, “Llora, if a building falls on me tomorrow, I want you to know I died a happy man.” And I know he did.

Donations in Bill’s memory may be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, Chicago.

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