William Charles Torrey Sr. aged 87 of Marco Island, FL, and Iron River, WI, died peacefully at his home on Marco Island, surrounded by love and family, on the evening of March 24th, 2021. Bill was born on April 28, 1933 in Ute, Iowa where he lived above his parents’ sweet shop. Bill was preceded in death by his parents Wilbur and Bernice Torrey, brother Larry and sister, Laura and wife, Joanne. Upon graduating from Onawa High School, he spent one year at Buena Vista College in Storm Lake. Bill married Muriel Joan Cutler (Joanne), in Whiting, Iowa on August 2nd, 1954.
Dad’s greatest passions in life were hunting, fishing, and selling. He was an adventure seeker on all these fronts and loved telling the stories of his exploits. Upon his semi-retirement he took the rigorous courses and exams to become certified as a sea captain (not as a profession but to be an expert at waterways). He loved fishing the world, especially his beloved Gulf of Mexico as well as his many trips to Crane Lake. From the time he was a boy, dad also loved to hunt, and made many fond memories hunting ducks and geese with his buddies in Canada and elsewhere. He embraced life passionately and enjoyed sharing his fun with friends both new and old.
Unrivaled as a salesman and entrepreneur, Dad began his career with AT&T as a lineman in Iowa. Wanting to be in sales, he took a job selling Yellow Pages advertising in Omaha, NE. Not long after he began to accept multiple promotions which included transfers to Green Bay, La Crosse, and Superior, WI. He loved northern WI the best due to the wildlife and so he and Mom made Superior, WI their home. As the Bell system began to break up, Dad took advantage of the divestiture to capitalize upon unfolding opportunities. He forged his career as a pioneer in the telecommunications industry, and with his visionary capabilities, ultimately founded multiple companies. These included Paging Incorporated, Opticall International, Telephone Associates Long Distance, Inc, and Telephone Associates, Inc. which was his crowning achievement for over 40 years. He was proud of being able to employ and provide a living for many wonderful people over the years, whom he cared about deeply.
Dad and his longtime friend and business partner, Toby Marcovich, had many additional interesting entrepreneurial escapades, including finding a loophole that would enable beer to be sold in grocery and convenience stores in WI back in the late 60s early 70’s. The tales involving this venture were highly entertaining.
Dad was heartbroken at mom’s passing three and a half years ago but pulled out of his despair to give us a few more wonderful years (and hundreds of stories), while we laughed and learned things we never knew. Thank you Dad-we love and miss you so very much.
Dad did not want a funeral or memorial service. He did, however, say it would be “OK” to throw him a party. Dad’s party will be held at Buskey Bay Resort (formerly Hyde’s) in Iron River from 3:00-5:00 on Friday, May 21st.
Bill is survived by children William Jr. (Alan), Anne Torrey Nemer (Eli), Erin Ostler (Bob), and much-loved grandchildren Torrey, Joseph, Summer and Bricker.
Memorials may go to the Second Harvest Food Bank, or Ducks Unlimited.