Services planned for William ‘Bill’ Lachat, who enjoyed his family, cars, sports
“He would tell me he was the fastest, most efficient [meter] reader they had at ComEd because he’d jump over fences, run through backyards, run up and down the stairs,” said his daughter Jean Lachat.
From the time he was a little boy whose first words were “more pie,” William “Bill” Lachat had a good time.
Starting in his teens, he had a string of cool cars. Some were gleaming muscle cars off Detroit assembly lines. Others were curvy little Europeans like the Karmann Ghia. If they were convertibles, even better.
When he joined the Army, he’d get his adrenaline pumping by jumping out of planes for the 82nd Airborne.
When he worked for ComEd, reading electrical meters, “He would tell me he was the fastest, most efficient reader they had at ComEd because he’d jump over fences, run through backyards, run up and down the stairs,” said his daughter Jean Lachat.
He and Felicia, his wife of 50 years, had a nightly cocktail hour when they savored martinis with a splash of vermouth and the biggest green olives he could find.
They enjoyed trips to Hawaii and Mexico and their favorite destination — Alaska — where they were awed by the gangly beauty of moose and Denali National Park and Preserve.
He’d cruise Saddle Lake in Michigan on his pontoon boat. The Lachats had a cottage there where they always had Jimmy Buffett’s music playing. He used his speedboat to take the kids and their families and friends tubing and water skiing.
Into his 60s, he enjoyed water skiing and snow skiing. For 23 years, he played volleyball with the Fathers’ Club at Mother McAuley High School.
Visitation for Mr. Lachat, who died in March at 83, is planned from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Kerry Funeral Home in Palos Heights. A Mass of Christian burial is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Christina Catholic Church, 11005 S. Homan Ave.
He loved his dog Sergeant Pepper, a Dalmatian that would eat plastic Barbie shoes, crayons, batteries.
“He would swipe foods off our plates at the dinner table,” Jean Lachat said. “He actually ate a roast right off the stove.”
Mr. Lachat was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. His father Lawrence was a chemist and his mother Ann was a teacher. They moved to Morgan Park, where he attended Clissold grade school and Morgan Park High School.
After graduation, he joined the Army.
He met his wife Felicia “Fish” Pietrowicz in a Catholic youth group at St. Kilian’s church. They danced to “Moon River” when they got married at St. Simon’s parish in 1963. And they lived in the same Mount Greenwood house at 109th Street and Homan Avenue for 50 years.
As their five daughters arrived, Mr. Lachat shifted from convertibles to station wagons. But he still had some stylish rides. For a long time, he drove a copper Grand Prix with “UMP 10” license plates. He refereed softball, baseball, basketball and football games for the park district and schools.
After the kids grew up, he bought a Buick Gran Sport on impulse.
“My mom came home from work and there was this shiny black car in the garage,” their daughter said. Felicia Lachat assumed he was doing a test drive, only to be told by a neighbor: “No, I think you own that car.”
It didn’t help that it had only one cupholder, and “it cost more than they paid for the Mount Greenwood house,” their daughter said.
In 2012, Felicia Lachat became ill with brain cancer.
“My dad wanted to make sure she could stay at home so we could take care of her,” their daughter said. “They were a unit — great parents, hardworking, and they really loved each other.”
Felicia Lachat died the following year.
One of Mr. Lachat’s license plates — “BF 2963” — stood for “Bill and Felicia” and their wedding date of Feb. 9, 1963.
Mr. Lachat bought Budweiser by the case. When he finished it, he’d give the box to his daughters, who’d turn it into a Barbie house. When they went to Sox park, his daughter said, he’d give each of their five girls “a can to put under our arms or in our jackets to walk in with because they never checked us.”
After moving to Peace Village in Palos Park, he met his partner Mary Jo Harper.
In addition to her and his daughter Jean, Mr. Lachat is survived by daughters Michele Burbatt, Suzanne Vaughan, Christine Nagelhout and Nicole Mendez, 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.