William J. Hetzler

William J. Hetzler

Mar 21, 2017

Born in Columbia, Missouri to Ruth Walter and William J. Hetzler, Jr. and passed away at the ae of 92 on March 21, 2017 at Josie Harper Hospice House. Raised in Washington, D.C. by his mother, his Uncle Steve Walter and Aunt Martha Walter, Bill was a voracious reader, learner and industrious worker, earning enough with his paper route and other jobs to pay his own way and to augment the family income.

Following graduation in 1942, Bill enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was deployed to the South Pacific.  He participated in the battle for the Japanese held island of Peleliu.  In 1945, he met the love of his life, a beautiful WAVE from Portland, Oregon, Marilynn Adair.  They married in 1946 and enjoyed 68 years of marriage until her death in 2013.

Bill obtained a BA in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.  He began his career at Mutual of Omaha in Washington, D.C. He traveled a lot, met many friends, spent many vacations on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and eventually moved to Omaha in 1966, where he rose to the position of President of United of Omaha.  He retired in 1990.  Special to them was time spent in the U.S. Virgin Islands on their sloop, the “Kitty Hawk.”

He is survived by four daughters: Stephanie Prebula of Houston, Texas, Karlyn Hetzler of Bend, Oregon, Robin Bro of Omaha, Nebraska, and Lesley March of Boise, Idaho; nine grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren.

The family will receive friends Thursday, March 23rd, from 5pm to 7:30pm at the Bel Air Chapel.  MEMORIAL SERVICE Friday, March 24th at 11am at All Saints Episcopal Church, 9302 Blondo.  Interment, Forest Lawn Memorial Park with military honors by Benson VFW Post 2503.

In lieu of flowers, Bill asked that contributions be made to a charity of one’s choice.





  • Denny Dillingham Posted March 22, 2017 12:35 pm

    A great man, He will be missed by all. A true honorable man and a dear friend Best if all to the family.

  • David and Joan Moore Posted March 22, 2017 7:31 pm

    Bill Hetzler was one of the most kind men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Marilynn and Bill made it possible for us to enjoy many stays in St. Thomas that would have never been possible without their generosity. Bill was man of great intelligence who always displayed a love of learning and adventure. The native St. Thomanians always called him “The Hibiscus Man” as he put a red hibiscus in his hat every morning for his walk at Magan’s Bay. David and Joan Moore

  • Betsy Post Posted March 23, 2017 8:07 am

    Robin, I am so sorry for your loss. You’ve had so much to deal with recently​. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Julie Posted March 24, 2017 7:25 am

    So sorry to hear about Bill. The one thing I remember about him is that he would walk around on every floor at Mutual right before Christmas to tell everyone to have a good holiday. He was a good leader.

  • Tim Posted March 30, 2017 2:27 pm

    I agree that BIll has a very kind man and cared about the team at Mutual/United. He not only walked around the floors before Christmas, but also many times during the year. I worked at Mutual from 1975 to 1985 and he often stopped by my office in the mid 80’s to see how I was doing. He was a great leader and mentor. Sorry to hear about his passing.

  • JenniferRathkolb Posted October 27, 2018 9:38 pm

    I have such wonderful memories of Bill and Marilyn . We lived in St Thomas in Mahogany Run and spent many wonderful evenings tpgether on their deck overlooking the ocean while enjoying the hummingbirds that Marilyn hed entoced with her sugar water feeder.. We visited them once in Omaha and had a grand old time together.. they were great friends and we always looked forward to their time in St Thomas. After I lost my beloved Gerald to cancer in 2009 I spoke to Bill from time to time during Marilyn’s illness and after she passed away. They are both so fresh in my memory. We went on that vacatipn together on The Delta Queen. They were just so comfortable to be around. It was one of the few vacatipn we ever took time to leave St Thomas. Wonderful memories!

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