Wilhelm “Bill” Zantow of Orleans died at home on Saturday, January 9 surrounded by his loving family after a 2-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Bill was born on June 15, 1931 in Hoboken, NJ to Florence (née Schmidt) and Harold Zantow. He graduated from Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY, briefly attended Brown University, then enlisted in the US Air Force and taught electronics at Scott Air Force base in Illinois. There he met and married Betty Jane Poole, graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and had three children. Bill was recruited by IBM in Poughkeepsie, NY, then accepted the opportunity of a lifetime to work at Raytheon Corp in Sudbury, finishing his career in Kaiserslautern, Germany and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. His proudest achievement was his design of the core rope memory for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. He retired to Cape Cod in 1992, beginning a new “career” building small boats & cabinets, square dancing and participating in numerous community groups.
Bill is survived by his life partner, Elizabeth “Liz” Kelley, who he met square-dancing in 2004; his ex-wife, Mary Dalgleish Guinn Zantow of Allen, TX; his children, Tara Zantow and husband, Tim Blankenship of Boxborough, Tim Zantow and partner, Mary Christie of Brockton, Tanya (Zantow) and John Marks of Higganum, CT, Tres Guinn of Allen, TX, Lisa Guinn of Allen, TX, Mark and Jen Guinn of Whitewright, TX, Peter Vennerbeck of Hyannis and Katherine Vennerbeck of Brewster; his grandchildren, Patrick Guinn, Max Blankenship and partner, Ashlyne Bokousky, Isabel Blankenship, Bretton Marks, Eric Blankenship and Vance Guinn. He was pre-deceased by his first wife, Betty, and by Tim’s partner, Ruth Cottle. Other surviving family include his sister, Margar “Ginger” Erickson and husband, Robert of Orleans and Naples, FL, and nieces and nephew, Wendy Underhill of Eastham, Jeff and Karen (Underhill) LaVoie of Orleans, and Michael and Geri Underhill of Naples, FL.
He was a mentor and sponsor in the fellowship of AA for over 20 years of sobriety and was a founder of Club Drydock in Harwich. He and Liz were members of the Nau-Sets Square Dance club in Dennis and they traveled the world attending square dance conventions. Bill was an active supporter of human rights and social justice, activities included gathering signatures for RISE-UP Massachusetts and working with Get Out the Vote! He tinkered in his workshop “inventing” household gadgets, building furniture and refurbishing computers. Taking great pride in his 1820’s home and new barn, he was resolute in their upkeep and he fought back the weeds bravely. He could be seen sitting in the locust grove, drinking coffee, solving puzzles or reading a good book. He vacationed every year in Maine, tootled around Pleasant Bay in his boats, was a fantastic cook, but most of all, he nurtured his family who adored him.
We are grateful for the loving care provided by VNA Hospice, Cape Cod Hospital, Orleans Rescue, and Coastal Ambulance. He has donated his body to UMass Medical School for medical research and education.
An outdoor memorial service is planned for late spring. “Bill Z” requested donations in his memory be made to Alcoholics Anonymous. (send by mail to: General Service Office, Box 459, Grand Central Station, NY, NY 10163)