In Memory

William Laskey

In Memory

William J. Laskey Obituary

William J. Laskey

Born: October 3, 1922; in Chicago, IL

Died: June 8, 2018; in Crystal Lake, IL

William J. Laskey, age 95, of Crystal Lake, passed away at home on June 8, 2018. 

Bill was born to William Jennings and Gertrude Laskey on October 3, 1922, in Chicago. Bill loved music and began working professionally as a jazz saxophonist while still in high school. He served in World War II as a radio operator, stationed in India. After the war, Bill studied at the Chicago Conservatory of Music--where he met his future wife, Joanne--Roosevelt University, and the University of Illinois, earning degrees in Clarinet Performance and Music Education. Bill became a high school band director, teaching in Rossville, Illinois, and then at Crystal Lake Central (Community) High School from 1963 to 1980. 

In the 1970s, Bill expanded and revamped the Crystal Lake marching band program to include summer competitions. Under Bill's leadership, the Heraldry Guard marching band won numerous competitions and accolades for their marching, innovation, and musicianship. Following his retirement from teaching, Bill continued to play music and pursued many interests including photography, golf, and cooking. At the age of 79, he took flying lessons and earned his pilot's license. In recent years, the Crystal Lake Strikers drumline established the William Laskey scholarship, awarded each year to aspiring percussion students. Bill also was honored to be chosen as the grand marshal for Crystal Lake's Independence Day Parade (2015). 

Bill is survived by his children, Elizabeth (Bruce) Laskey, John (Liz) Laskey, Mary (Grant) Laskey, and James Laskey; as well as his dear companion, Betty Jean Stoltze. 

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, sister, and wife, Joanne (June 22, 1995). 

A loving father, uncle, friend, and an inspirational teacher, Bill will be greatly missed.

Visitation will be on June 29 at Querhammer & Flagg Funeral Home, 500 W. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. There will be a memorial service on June 30 at 10:00 AM at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 210 McHenry Ave. Crystal Lake. 

Memorials may be sent to Pioneer Center for Human Services, 4031 W. Dayton Street, McHenry, IL 60050 or at

Online condolences may be made at

Published in the Northwest Herald on June 12, 2018