William R. Witmer

July 7, 1941 ~ May 27, 2019 (age 77)


William R. Witmer, 77, of Washington passed away at 12:47am, Monday, May 27, 2019 at OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria.

He was born on July 7, 1941 in Muscatine, IA the son of Orville and Helen Luethye Witmer.  He spent what he described as the best years of his life side by side with his wife Kathy McCluskey Witmer. 

Surviving are his wife, six sons Jarret W. (Loona) Witmer, Nicholas J. Witmer, Jason E. (Lisa) Witmer, Sean B. (Amy) Hast, Richard K. Witmer and J. Seth Witmer.  Also surviving are 9 grandchildren; Vera Grace Witmer, Evelyn Ann Witmer, Henry William Witmer, Gunnar Sean Hast, Victoria Witmer, Philip Witmer, Adam Witmer, Cameron Lee Hast and Tyler Joseph Hast. Two great grandchildren along with a host of nieces Stacey Johnson Lukins, Melissa Otis, Jennifer McCluskey and Katie Rollins four nephews Marc Johnson, Jeremy Anderson, Brian McCluskey and David McCluskey along with one sister Lynne Hatcher also survive.  His parents and one sister Sharon Anderson preceded him in death.

A 1959 graduate of Rock Island High School, he enlisted with the U.S. Air Force in 1959 and was honorably discharged in 1963.

He earned his Associate of Arts, in Criminal Justice at Black Hawk College in Moline, IL; his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA and later his Master of Arts in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. 

Bill began a long and distinguished career in law enforcement on April 5, 1965 with the Rock Island Police Department as a patrolman and worked his way through the ranks to Lieutenant in charge of Major Crimes Unit and finally Captain of the Operations Division.  He retired in March of 1991 from the Rock Island Police Department and was appointed Police Chief for the City of Washington, IL also in March of 1991 and served until he retired in 2004.

Over the years Bill authored and co-authored 17 Illinois State Laws including Disarming a Police Officer and Illinois pawn shop laws.  He also authored and was the subject of many trade magazine articles, including articles on community policing, task force approach to law enforcement and several other innovative policing techniques.

Bill had many enjoyments in life including carpentry, building furniture, bird houses, benches, wooden tool boxes and bean bag boards for family and friends and also for silent auctions and raffles at local charity events. His hobbies included working on his house, gardening his fruit trees, Fishing and reading. Bill was a Chicago Bears, Cubs and St. Louis Cardinal fan, and was a big fan of college basketball and football.

Bill enjoyed traveling, but always use his vacation time to visit family who live out of state.  He frequently traveled to Colorado to visit Kathy’s parents and to Texas to visit Sean and his family.  

He spent a lot of time in the bleachers. Nick & Jarret’s were multi-sport athletes and Bill was their biggest fan.  He cheered them on at all but a few of their sporting events over the years from elementary school soccer, T-ball, little league baseball, JFL, middle school basketball, baseball and track, high school, football baseball, wrestling and track to College football at St. Ambrose University. He was an active member of Washington Panthers 12th man when the kids played high school football.

Cremation has been accorded. A Memorial Mass will be 10:00am, Friday, May 31, 2019 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Washington.  Father John Steffen will officiate.  There will be no visitation. Inurnment of his remains will follow his Mass at Glendale Cemetery in Washington.  In lieu of flowers, memorials in his name may be given to OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home, 8630 State Rt. 91, Peoria, IL 61615.  Mason-White Funeral Home in Washington is assisting the family with arrangements and notes of condolences may be sent using

To send flowers to William's family, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Mass
May 31, 2019

10:00 AM
St. Patrick Catholic Church
705 E. Jefferson St
Washington, IL 61571

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