Obituary for William H. Wardle

William H. Wardle of Chicago, Illinois, passed away peacefully at the age of 100 on Sunday, February 25, 2024, in The Villages, Florida which had been his home for the past year and a half. Bill, as he liked to be called, was born March 25, 1923, the son of Thomas and Anna Marie (Hermann) Wardle of Chicago, Illinois. His family moved to Indiana when he was thirteen and Bill graduated from Wheeler High School in Wheeler, Indiana in June of 1940.

Bill’s musical talents became evident at the age of 5 where he quickly mastered the piano, and later the accordion, and went on to entertain his community and civic organizations as a teenager. He also enjoyed HAM radio as a child, which would eventually serve him later in his life in the radio business.  Upon graduation from High School, he hit the road throughout the Midwest as accompanist for a well-known song leader. Bill played the organ and trumpet as well.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Bill was drafted into the Army in April of 1943.  He was inducted at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis and trained at Camp Mackall in Aberdeen, North Carolina. He served in the 517th Parachute Band in England and France from 1944 until he returned home in March of 1946. Upon his discharge from Camp Atterbury, Indiana, Bill directly returned to Aberdeen, North Carolina to marry the love of his life, Elizabeth Page. He met Liz while training at Camp Mackall in 1943 where she waited for him to return from France in 1946.They married on October 1, 1946. Soon Bill and Liz were on the road with the Stan Jason Trio for seven years, entertaining in small clubs throughout the 48 states. They had many adventures pulling their travel trailer those seven years touring the country, and during his lifetime, Bill could tell you dozens of detailed and exciting stories.

They finally settled in Countryside, Illinois in 1953 when their firstborn daughter started school and another daughter had been born. Here is where Bill joined WTAQ Radio and would work there for 30 years as an engineer, talk show host, musician, General Manager and eventually as the owner.  During this time, Bill also held other side jobs playing music, including performing for three years live on WGN Chicago TV with his accordion on the Frankie Yankovic Polka show. During those 30 years, Bill was totally involved with his local community. He served as President & other positions on the local School Board where his four daughters attended school, held many positions of leadership with the Kiwanis Club of LaGrange, Illinois, and volunteered on the auxiliary police force. He emceed many local functions and consulted with the local high school when they started their own radio station. He and Liz loved to travel, and snow skiing was their favorite passion, enjoyed with their many friends they made through Kiwanis Club and community involvement.  Bill also obtained his private pilot’s license, loving to take friends and daughters for a spin, and he and Liz often traveled that way. They valued their yearly beach reunions in South Carolina with close relatives. After selling the radio station in 1985, he and Liz later retired to Florida where they lived for 15 years. Bill was active with their church, he continued entertaining, and they enjoyed the warm weather and boating opportunities they had with friends.

Bill and Liz moved to Arizona in 2013 and at the age of 90, he continued to emcee events, perform piano concerts, and entertain his new community with music, story-telling, and humor.  When he moved to Florida after the death of his wife in 2022, he even entertained guests at his 100th birthday party in typical broadcaster fashion. 

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, and his wife Elizabeth (“Buck”) Page, to whom he was married for more than 75 years. He is survived by his four daughters Barbara Welch (John) of The Villages, Florida, Irene Peters (Gary) of Tucson, Arizona, Pamela Siciliano (Tony) of The Villages, Florida, Mary Dietrich of Willowbrook, Illinois, thirteen grandchildren; Christopher, Wendy, Jason, Adam, Elizabeth, Ryan, Page, Eric, Paul, Ashley, Stephen, Michael, & Megan, 21 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Bill will be remembered for his kindness to all, as the ultimate entertainer, his overwhelming community service no matter where he lived, his patriotism, his love of God, country, family and friends.

There will be a graveside memorial service for him and the love of his life, Elizabeth Page Wardle 11am on Saturday, August 3, 2024 at Bethesda Cemetery in Aberdeen, North Carolina, arranged through Boles Funeral Home, with fellowship to follow.

In lieu of flowers, Memorials can be made to St. Jude Hospital of Memphis, Tennessee or Tunnels to Towers Foundation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email