Bill McCluskey, 85, died peacefully on Jan. 23, 2019 from complications of pulmonary fibrosis. Born in Caldwell, Idaho, in 1933, Bill’s carefree childhood and rowdy teen years in rural Idaho were brought to an abrupt halt when he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He credited his army training managing a telephone exchange in Straubing, Germany, at the beginning of the Cold War as the launch of his 60-year career in communications.
After the war, he married Tana Gambill and became the proud dad of son, Dee and daughter, Traci who followed his career moves to Wyoming, Iowa, New York, and Colorado. He and the family relocated to Arizona on a transfer with the Honeywell Corporation in 1972. In Arizona he bought his first camper and family vacations found them camping and fishing in countless lakes and mountain streams across the mountain west. Over the years, the campers became more luxurious, but Rocky Point remained a favorite camping and vacation spot for all of his life.
Starting in the industry when computers still had vacuum tubes, Bill was especially proud of his customer relationships: he maintained Martin Marietta as his primary account through three changes of computer companies, and they valued his guidance as part of their team monitoring the communications for the first moon-lander on Mars. He was part of the detail with Collins Radio (Rockwell) that facilitated the security and access of the US-Russian communications during the Cuban Missile Crisis and NORAD alert.
He was a serial entrepreneur, co-founding DataBase Systems Corp with Paul Gillman and Sundance Technology Group and DOT Network Services with Charlotte McCluskey, whom he met on the board of directors of the Enterprise Network and married in 1991. Their life together was truly “a wild ride,” as they explored the wonders of each place they lived, loved and worked, and built a cadre of friends across the globe. They treasured the extended family their love brought together and never thought of each other’s kids and grandkids as “step-family.” The family they built was enriched by the “Sisters/Brothers from Another Mother” they gathered along the way.
Always thinking of himself as a “thirty-something,” Bill felt extremely fortunate to be hired by Titan Power at the age of 71. He believed that the uninterruptable power systems business wove all of his computing, engineering, and marketing skills together. He relished every minute of his time mentoring and contributing to the growth of the Titan team where he retired for the third time at age 81.
After retirement, Bill established Facebook connections with friends old and new. As his many friends, (especially during his 20 active years in Fountain Hills), would attest, he enjoyed the company of strong, interesting women as well as the young and adventuresome of all genders and all ages. He was a defender to his last day of civil rights and civil discourse.
But failing retirement once again, Bill devoted his last years to helping at the LDV Winery, both at the tasting room in Scottsdale and at the vineyard during the winter pruning season. He was at his P.T. Barnham-best pouring wine and promoting LDV’s fine wines to “old friends he’d just met.”
Bill was photo-flashing proud of his kids and all his grandchildren, and his last full-time job was bragging about his family and re-telling his corny jokes. He cleared out many a swim-up bar in more than one continent with tales of the superior attributes of his clan.
Bill is survived by his wife, Charlotte Snyder McCluskey; son, William Dee McCluskey (Teressa); daughters, Traci Lynne McCluskey Yarbrough (Steve), Paige Schilt (Katy Koonce), Kristen Schilt, (Patrick Jagoda); and his grandkids and great-grand kids, Allan Yarbrough (Brittany, Aaron and Faith Ann Yarbrough), Shaun Yarbrough, Megan Barela, Hannah McCluskey, Waylon Schilt-Koonce, and the 4th “William McCluskey,” William Cole McCluskey.
A Scottish wake will be held in his honor on his 86th Birthday, April 25, 2019, at the LDV Winery Tasting Room on Stetson Drive in Old Scottsdale, from 4:30-7 p.m. Private burial to be at a later date at the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Santa Fe, N.M. If you feel so moved, his desire would be a donation in remembrance to the Wounded Warrior Project, support.woundedwarriorproject.org, or Heifer International, heiferfoundation.org.