William (Bill) Peter Comis, age 91, of Manasquan, NJ, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on March 3, 2020, at Ocean Medical Center Brick, NJ. Born on the North Side of Chicago on December 28, 1928, Bill and his sister June were raised by their Greek immigrant father Peter and mother Katherine. Their successful small store enabled Bill to attend Illinois Institute of Technology, where he joined the Triangle engineering fraternity and graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering in 1951. Bill met his true love and lifelong partner, Vivian (Mickey), during these college years; they married in 1952. He returned to graduate school, earning an MBA in 1958 from The University of Chicago.
Propelled by his engineering acumen and project management skills Bill rose through the ranks of premier chemical engineering and construction firms such as John Brown E&C Inc. Starting in a front-line manufacturing position with Dart, Bill grew to manage the building of petrochemical plants all over the world and attained a U.S. Patent for a new manufacturing Polypropylene Process. He would go on to oversee the contract negotiations of many capital projects for Crawford & Russell, M.W. Kellog and other firms.
His career was made possible by the willingness of Mickey to transplant their growing family eight times in twenty years. They started in Kankakee, IL, from 1953-60 where the first four children were born (Sue, Tim, Mel, Mike), followed by Buffalo, NY, and another child (Sarah) in 1962. The Comis clan landed in Sherman Oaks, CA, in 1963, enjoying the sunny West Coast for four years. This was followed by a brief stop-over in Pittsburgh, PA.
Despite Mickey’s love of flying, Bill most often chose to drive the family across the country stopping often to enjoy the splendor of National Parks along the way. Bill and Mickey finally settled the family in Ridgewood, NJ, in 1968, where they had their sixth child (Chris) and stayed for forty years. They fostered their childrens’ education through a love of travel and exploration, including two years of living abroad in The Hague, Netherlands in the mid-70s where the family frequently toured the continent.
The Catholic Church enjoyed his devotion throughout his life, in turn it provided him the opportunity to develop deep lifelong friendships. Besides being an avid tennis player and sailor, Bill’s interests included Habitat for Humanity, hiking and projects at the vacation home on Cape Cod ─ a meeting place of endless joy for his family and friends for more than 40 years.
Bill was predeceased by his father Peter, his mother Katherine and his sister June Wilson. Bill is survived by his incredible wife of sixty nine years, Mickey, his brother in-law Tom Wilson, and Bill and Mickey’s loving children and grandchildren; Susan, her husband Bruce Olsen and their daughter Mikki; William (Tim); Melanie, her husband Larry Sikowski, and their four children, Ted, Megan, Dan, Greg; Mike and his two children Andrew and Angela; Sarah and her husband Jon Resnick, Chris and his partner Steve Lee; and a host of good friends.
Bill’s final generous act was to offer the gift of sight through organ donation, alas there were no takers for his 91 year old eyes. If only he could impart the wisdom gained by his time on this earth we would all be the better for it.
Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of his life. The visitation will be 9 am – 10:30 am on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at St. Mark’s Church, 215 Crescent Pkwy, Sea Girt, NJ 08750. The Mass of Christian Burial will follow immediately at 10:30 am.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in the name of William (Bill) Peter Comis to: Habitat for Humanity by phone at 1-800-HABITAT (1-800-422-4828) or online at https://www.habitat.org/donate/?link=628