William Charles Lorentz (“Bill”), 81, of Milwaukee, died March 29, 2017. He was the loving husband of Mary Ann Lorentz (Altstadt) for 56 years.
He was generous, loved to laugh and make others laugh, and talk. He had a goofy, gently teasing sense of humor.
He was active in politics, and worked both professionally and as a volunteer for social justice causes and progressive efforts, including local and national political campaigns, school desegregation, education reform, fair housing and programs for homeless people.
He had a large music CD collection, most of it jazz. (Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Earl Hines were among his favorites.) Baseball was an obsession for him. He started out as a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals before becoming an avid Brewers fan. He loved movies, and was a bit of a snob about his tastes. His all-time favorite film was On the Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando. He was a constant reader. He also loved to dance. “He was very light on his feet, and very unorthodox,” according to his wife, Mary Ann.
Bill was born in Sioux Falls, SD, and went to elementary and high school at St. Joseph’s Cathedral Catholic School there. He graduated from South Dakota State University with a journalism degree. He married Mary Ann in 1960 while he worked as a reporter for the Kearney Daily Hub in Nebraska. In 1963, he and Mary Ann moved to Wisconsin in 1963, where he was a reporter for the Waukesha Freeman before settling in Milwaukee in 1967 and getting a job in the public relations department for UW-Milwaukee, where he eventually headed the department. In 1984, he began working for Social Development Commission in Milwaukee in public relations, including as a photographer. He worked there until his retirement in 2001.
He also worked on many political campaigns, including Warren Braun’s run for Congress in 1982. Before that he spent many hours as a volunteer for George McGovern’s presidential bid in 1972. Some other races included Tom Jacobson’s run for Wisconsin attorney general, Tom Barrett’s first mayoral campaign and was featured in a TV commercial for Congresswoman Gwen Moore.
Bill is survived by his wife Mary Ann, and his children Ann (Randy Koepsel); Dan (Lori Ringhand); Paul, Barbara Heimlich (Kurt); and Patricia, (Emmett Wooten, Sr.); his grandchildren Aliaya Wooten and Emmett, Jr Wooten, his sister Sr. Suzanne Lorentz, OP; in-laws Terry Lorentz; John Altstadt, (Terri), James Altstadt (Faye)and nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Leslie and Annamae Lorentz and his siblings Robert, Marie (“Mitzi”) and Richard.
The family would like to thank Horizon Hospice, especially Ken, Nelson, Lisa, Chaplain Eugene, Symphony of Glendale (Tudor Unit) and Veronica of Family Care for their care of Bill.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Hope House, Casa Maria, and Woodland Pattern or a charity of your choice.
Visitation will take place at the funeral home Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 9am until time of the memorial service at 11 am.
Heritage Funeral Home at Greenfield 4800 S. 84th St., Greenfield, WI, US, 53228