Sadly, Bill’s family announces his passing. It was Bill’s wish that we inform you of this in this way and that we invite you to celebrate his life with us. Details of the service and celebration are below.
With love and appreciation to his many dear friends,
Obituary: William (Bill) Ambrose McGrath
William Ambrose McGrath, familiarly known as “Bill,” gracefully accepted the fate that awaits all of us, dying peacefully at his home in Park City, Utah surrounded by his loving family and close relatives on October 21, 2014. In what can only be described as an untimely death due to complications from colon cancer, he was two weeks short of his 50th birthday.
Known for his many achievements in athletics and engineering, and his extraordinary sense of humor, Bill was born in Hanover, New Hampshire on November 4, 1964, just across the Connecticut River from his home in Norwich, Vermont. After attending Norwich and Hanover schools, he enrolled at the University of Vermont in Burlington where in 1988 he earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering and graduated Cum Laude. While an undergraduate, Bill was a star of the Track and Field team, posting many records for running including the 1,500-meter event, which stands unrivaled to this day. As a testament to his athletic and academic prowess, Bill was the recipient of the prestigious Wasson Athletic Prize, which is awarded to a senior male (and female) student-athlete who has demonstrated a high level of athletic achievement and has maintained the highest standard of academic scholarship.
Upon graduation, Bill pursued a number of engineering and teaching positions. He worked for a prominent engineering firm in Boston, where he also ran professionally; he built a state-of-the-art water treatment plant in Sarasota, Florida; and he taught chemistry at Burke Mountain Academy in Lyndonville, Vermont. Bill returned to the University of Vermont and in 1997 earned a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering.
Shortly after earning his graduate degree, Bill married Darci Thompson, a native of Golden, British Columbia, Canada who was working in the United States as a nurse. The couple eventually moved to Park City, Utah where they acquired a beautiful home in proximity to an active ranch. From this home, they enjoyed spectacular views of the Wasatch mountain range and the Park City Mountain resort. Darci and Bill shared a deep passion for the mountains and wilderness and enjoyed a rich, adventurous outdoor life with their family in Utah.
Bill and Darci have two sons, Scott, 15 and Reese, 13. Bill was deeply and joyfully committed as a father and was wildly successful in this role. He brought his broad and humorous world-view to the education of his children. He was the patient teacher, the wise mentor, always the facilitator, the advocate, the coach, and the greatest fan of his boys. His enthusiasm for his boys’ athletics helped them excel in hundreds of hockey and soccer games, swim meets and ski races. He was tirelessly playful, endlessly adventurous and always so much fun. His complete devotion to Scott and Reese has poised them well for the next stages of their lives and his paternal legacy will usher them successfully into adulthood.
In his adult years, Bill enjoyed outstanding success and notoriety as a masters’ ski racer. Dueling with his friend and long time rival Tyler Palmer, Bill won the New England Sise Cup championship on several occasions. After moving to Park City, Bill became known as “The Sheriff” for his dominance of the Intermountain Masters’ ski racing circuit. Always a strong ski racer, Bill impressed his fellow competitors with his strength and elegance on the slopes.
In Park City, Bill was a smart, ambitious, and well-respected professional. Under his leadership, several grand hotels in Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley and The Canyons were built. His deluxe hotel for Marriott at the base of the Park City ski lifts was brought in on time for the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. Today, these elegant edifices stand as some of the most impressive hotel/condominiums in any American ski resort.
One of Bill’s significant contributions to the Park City community, and one he was most proud of, was his involvement with the Summit Ski Team, where he advocated growing the club as a family and community based organization, touching many lives.
Amiable and angular, Bill had the perfect build and temperament to excel at track and field and ski racing, to mentor junior ski racers, and to genuinely touch the lives of those who were fortunate enough to know him. His legacy is embodied in his family and his many friendships in New England and the Intermountain West.
Bill is survived by his wife Darci, his two sons Scott and Reese, as well as his mother Susan Morgan of Bozeman, Montana, his father Robert of Washington D. C. and his siblings Felix of Oslo, Norway, Rob of Manchester Center, Vermont and his sister Swithin of Bozeman, Montana. He will be greatly missed by his closest and dearest relatives, by his loyal dog Bugsy and devoted cat Buzz, and by his many friends and admirers.
A non-denominational Memorial Service will be held in Park City at the Temple Har Shalom on November 1, 2014, at 4:00. A celebration of Bill’s life will follow the service. (Address: 3700 N Brookside Ct, Park City, UT 84060). Donations may be made to the Bill McGrath Memorial Fund, Youth Sports Alliance, P.O. Box 681698, Park City, Utah 84068.
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