With great sadness, the family of William Nels Hamre announce his death in Tennessee.
Bill departed this world surrounded by family on June 18, 2019. Bill’s loving wife and best friend, Kathleen (Kathy) McNelly; his daughter, Patty Ann Hamre; sister-in-law, Karen Scroggs; and Karen’s son, Jimmy Loveday, were with Bill when he succumbed to fast-developing lung cancer at age 72.
Bill is also survived by his sister, Kathryn O. Hamre; granddaughter Kaitlyn J. McDevitt; adopted sons Michael J. Hamre and David R. Hamre; special friend Brandy Schuerger, who was raised by Bill and her mother Vicky Schuerger; and numerous other family and friends who shared his laughter, happiness, and love of life wherever he happened to be.
Bill was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., to Henry George Hamre and Margaret Corbett Hamre, and raised in Upper Darby, Pa. After graduating from Ridley High School in Ridley, Pa., where he was known for his athletic abilities, Bill earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Widener University (previously PMC), and an MBA from Wharton College of the University of Pennsylvania. Bill worked as comptroller for Gulf and Western and in sales for NCR before starting up his own successful company, Electro Kinetic Systems, that provided technical expertise to major industry. In addition, Bill earned a 100 Ton with Towing Captain’s License from the U.S. Coast Guard and was the electrician instructor for Chi Institute in Pennsylvania and Pennco Tech in N.J.
After relocating to St. Croix, USVI, Bill operated The East End Saloon Bar and Restaurant at Cramer Park, which closed following Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Later, Bill owned and operated Sunshine Charters, which included the 37-foot Gulfstar sloop “Sunshine” and with help in mechanical work from his close friend, Grant Worden, taught sailing for Annapolis Sailing School, worked at the Hovensa oil refinery, provided security services for another close friend, Richard (Dick) Mooney, and managed several properties in New Jersey, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania with his wife, Kathy. In addition, many people in St. Croix knew Bill as the cheerful and helpful captain of the ferry that ran between Hotel on The Cay and Christiansted.
St. Croix was home for Bill for 30 years. He and Kathy also resided for part of each year at their home in Sevierville, Tenn. Bill loved life and was actively involved in his community. For many years, Bill enjoyed sailing the blue waters of the Caribbean, most recently on his sloop, “Laura Eye,” which was moored in Salt River Bay. Bill was always quick to lend a skilled hand whenever friends needed help with their home repairs, construction projects, boat and automobile maintenance. His knowledge of the St. Croix marine world was amazing, and his ability to keep his “vintage” vehicles operating even following hurricane damages is legendary.
Bill also enjoyed being a ham radio operator and loved antique radios. He won many trophies for racing A-cats, enjoyed playing pool, and loved and admired new technology especially the Tesla electric car. As a young man, Bill earned an Eagle Scout designation and was active with the Sea Scout chapter of the Boys Scouts.
A close friend, Jose Rivera of St. Croix, commented, “I knew him well. One of a kind. Gentle and humble. He would give you all he had if he could and would not ask for anything in return. Amazing man. I will miss him.”
Bill will be laid to rest nearby his home in Tennessee, following a memorial service in Aston, Pa., on July 11, 2019, just outside Philadelphia. A celebration of Bill’s life will take place on St. Croix at some time in the future, and a family celebration will take place in late October in Sevierville, Tenn. Anyone wishing to pass on condolences to Bill’s wife or other family members and friends can contact Bill and Kathy’s close friend, Kristina VandenBerg, at email@example.com.