How proud we all were of William (Bill) Salatich, who was always so proud of his American-Serb heritage!
His passing is a loss to all of us.....
I thank Martha Zatezalo for sharing this info with me, who received it from George Sladoje, Chairman and CEO of North American Energy Credit and Clearing Corporation located in Chicago, Il.
William George Salatich age 87 died today (October 25, 2009) at his home in Northfield, Illinois after a long struggle with congestive heart failure.
Bill, born to Serbian immigrants in Chicago, rose from poverty to become The President of Gillette North America. He was a remarkable man who received many commendations and awards, including A Citation for Merit from the National Conference of Christians and Jews and The Horatio Alger Award from the American Schools and Colleges Associations.
The one he was proudest of was The Citation of Merit for instituting job opportunity and job training programs for African Americans and women at Gillette in the 1970’s. Ahead of his time in many ways, Bill always stood up for the fair treatment of others.
When he was five his father died from silicosis, a respiratory disease as a result of working in The Anaconda Copper mines in Butte Montana.
Although Bill was president of a huge corporation he never lost his respect for working men and women. He believed in hard work and self-improvement, and he always advised others to find work that they enjoyed.
As a young boy whose father had died, Bill began working early delivering papers to help the family. Bill grew up on the North Side of Chicago in a Serbian neighborhood. He always was proud of his Serbian heritage and supported Serbian Americans in numerous ways all his life.
As easily as singing Serbian songs with his friends, Bill could speak with The President of the United States on the golf course about the Serbian cause.
Bill was an excellent athlete in high school, an ace bowler, and a varsity baseball player. Growing up during the Depression, Bill appreciated the importance of having a job. When he received the Horatio Alger Award, after all the Ph.D.’s and others were introduced, he said, “I am honored to be introduced with all these people who have higher education. I don’t have any letters after my name but I have had something for the past 40 years and that is a J-O-B.”
After graduating from Lane Technical High School at 16, Bill went to work in a factory and later managed a bowling alley and drove cab before enlisting in the Army. After being discharged from the Army in 1945 and looking for work, his wife Dawn suggested he take an aptitude test that was being given at the Veteran’s Administration. Not thinking it was worth his while to take it he told her they were no longer giving those tests. She said, “that’s funny because I scheduled one for you tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.” The rest is history. Bill took the test and was referred by the young psychologist to her father, a field manager for Gillette.
Bill started out with a territory on the South Side of Chicago. At first he felt discouraged being only a high school graduate. However, his young wife Dawn encouraged him, and he worked hard at the job and rose through the ranks. He was an innovator who devised new sales techniques and put together the first national sales training program at Gillette. Over the course of thirty-two years at Gillette he had eleven different positions culminating in his Presidency and Vice-Chairmanship of the Board.
His leadership was marked by his compassion and a keen business sense. Gillette diversified into several areas during his tenure from beauty products to small appliances, which made Gillette one of the most successful companies. Although Bill worked hard he never forgot to note that luck always plays a part in success.
Bill retired from Gillette in 1979 shortly before his beloved wife Dawn died from breast cancer. During the ensuing thirty years he was involved in many ventures and served on a number of Boards including the Motorola Corporation, Eastern Gas and Fuel Company, New England Merchant’s Bank, and Advance Corporation of Cable & Broadcast Television. Bill was a trustee of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital and the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs; and a long time director of the Bob Hope Desert Classic, a charity golf tournament.
In 1973 he received an honorary doctorate in business administration from Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. He gave much time and energy to charities, his church, and his family.
Bill was devoted to his second wife of twenty-five years, Phyllis, his four children (Natalie, Jean, William and Sandra), his nine grandchildren (Nicole, Rick, Michelle, William, Robert, Amy, Lindsay, Lily and Eleanor), his three great-grandchildren (Austin, Chase and Emily), his brother Robert, his deceased brother Sam, and his two stepsons Bruce and Douglas Wilmot.
Serbian Americans all know of Bill Salatich. He has been an inspiration to them and their children. He is much beloved by his community and will be missed by many. Bill always felt he was privileged to have such an interesting and full life. He met and knew politicians, movie stars, and sports heroes, but never lost his respect and admiration for the common man.
Pomen Religious Service, November 1, 2009, Sunday 1:30 p.m. (all are welcome) followed by a visitation from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Donnellan Family Funeral Home 10045 Skokie Blvd. at Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60077. Funeral Services, November 2, 2009, Monday 10:00 a.m. at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 5701 North Redwood Drive, Chicago, IL 60631. Interment Montrose Cemetery, Chicago. In lieu of flowers, memorials to American Heart Association, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago, IL 60674 (donate.americanheart.org) would be appreciated. Info: www.donnellanfuneral.com or 847-675-1990
William G. Salatich, Sr. age 87 of Northfield, Illinois. Beloved husband of Phyllis; loving father of Natalie Salatich Jacobson, Jean Salatich, William George (Joy) Salatich, Jr. and Sandra Dawn (Michael) Windholz; stepfather of Bruce E. (Debbie) and Douglas H. (Hilde) Wilmot; dear grandfather of William George Salatich, III, Michelle Salatich (Matthew) Petersen, Amy Joy Salatich, Robert John Salatich, Lindsay Dawn Curtis, Nicole Leigh (William) Tsafos, Richard William Kehrer, Eleanor Eve Windholz and Lily Dawn Windholz; great grandfather of Austin William Kehrer, Chase William Petersen and Emily Dea Petersen; fond brother of Bob (Doris) Susich and the late Sam (the late Millie) Salatich. Pomen Religious Service, November 1st, Sunday 1:30 p.m. (all are welcome) followed by a visitation from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Donnellan Family Funeral Home 10045 Skokie Blvd. at Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Illinois 60077. Funeral Services, November 2nd, Monday 10:00 a.m. at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 5701 North Redwood Drive, Chicago, IL 60631. Interment Montrose Cemetery, 5400 North Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60630. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the American Heart Association would be appreciated, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago, IL 60674 or on line at donate.americanheart.org Info: www.donnellanfuneral.com or 847-675-1990
William G. Salatich 1922-2009
In a note to Bill's family, I wrote how much of an impact Bill had on our family.
Bill would send some sort of Christmas package to my father, Milan Karlo, all the time. Most of the time it was a new razor or the latest new blades the company made. But it wasn't the razor, it was the idea that the gift came from Bill Salatich, from GILLETTE!
To us, Gillette was Bill Salatich. As kids, we felt "rich" in just knowing that Bill Salatich was Serbian.
If he could do it,
we ALL could do it!
He never forgot his roots although he played golf with some of the richest and well-known people in the USA, including our Presidents.
Vjecnaja Pamjat to a True Blue American Serb!