After an eight-month struggle with bone marrow cancer, Bill Unger, 70, died peacefully on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 in the arms of his loving wife of 44 years, Pamela Millnitz Unger.
He was born April 14, 1942.
Born and raised in Mt. Morris, Bill graduated as a proud Mounder in 1960 and attended the Ohio State University on a football scholarship.
Though sidelined early by a knee injury, Bill retained his scholarship and saw some action under the legendary Woody Hayes, as he chronicled in the Columbus Monthly article, “Hiding from Woody: Memoir of a Green Weenie.”
He received his BA, MA and Ph.D. in English from Ohio State, with a brief hiatus in Chicago where he worked for Encyclopaedia Brittanica and met Pam.
An accomplished freelance author and editor, Bill founded the Acme Writing Company in 1984.
He served as newsletter editor for the Olde Towne East Neighborhood Association, the community where he and Pam lived in a decaying mansion for 35 years, and for their current community, the Salem Area Civic Association.
For the past 20 years he was the secretary/treasurer and newsletter editor for the North American Society of Pipe Collectors, building the membership to over 1000 and promoting a major pipe show in Columbus every August.
He researched and published “As Individual as a Thumbprint: The Custom-Bilt Pipe Story” as well as editing two book-length collections of pipe-related writings for the NASPC Press: “Mill River Smoke” by Marc Dion and “The Perfect Smoke” by Fred Hanna.
Bill’s lifelong love of roots and rock music, beginning with Bob Dylan, was evidenced by his dedication to Zeppelin Productions concerts, particularly Tom Russell, to Shadowbox Cabaret performances, and to the new music venue, Natalie’s.
He remained an avid, eclectic reader up to the week of his death.
He is survived by his wife, Pam; and their beloved dog, Stanley (plus five cats); mother, Vivian Hiscox Unger; brother, Greg (Roseann) Unger; sisters, Margaret (Bobby) Sydnor and Virginia (Roger) Corbitt; four nieces and two nephews.
Gratitude is extended to his personal physician and friend Mary Beth Butcher, M.D.; oncologist Jerry Mitchell, M.D., and the Zangmeister Center staff; and the nurses at St. Ann’s Infusion Center, all of whom provided so much more than medical care.
Without the caring assistance of Mt. Carmel Hospice, a difficult time would have been unbearable.
Memorials will continue at pipe events throughout the year, conducted by Bill’s brotherhood of the briar.
Donations in his name to the Democratic Party and/or the Natural Resources Defense Council would be appropriate and appreciated.
Memorials may also be made in Bill’s name to the Franklin County Animal Shelter in Columbus, Ohio.