|Birth: ||Sep. 21, 1917|
|Death: ||May 8, 2007|
The Telegraph, Alton, IL.,
May 10, 2007
William S. Abbott, founder of Abbott Machine Co., died at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, May 8, 2007, at Alton Memorial Hospital after several years of declining health. He was 89.
He was born Sept. 21, 1917, in Wood River to Sidney and Della (Hunter) Abbott.
He married Frances L. Shankland on June 4, 1955, in St. Louis. She survives.
A 1936 graduate of Alton High School, he began his long career in the tool and die field at Olin Corp. During World War II, he worked as a toolmaker at the Navy Pier in San Francisco, Curtis Wright (Boeing) in St. Louis and the Small Arms Ammunition Plant (Olin), also in St. Louis. After the war, he started a small machine shop in the basement of his home on Seminary in Alton. It later grew into Piasa Tool and Die, on the River Road. At its height in the late 1950s, it was the largest machine shop in the area, at one time employing over 100 people. For a brief period, Piasa Sports Car Co. was also housed in the same facility, where he was a dealer for Jaguar, MG, Morris Minor and Riley cars. Today, the company he started continues as Abbott Machine Co., in the same location, under the ownership of his sons, Robert and Rick.
He was well known, both locally and worldwide, for his collection of antique cars and motorcycles. He was a few decades ahead of his time in having a car museum in Grafton in the late 1950s. While this museum did not catch on at the time, the collection remained intact and expanded many times over during the 1960s and 1970s and at one point contained nearly 100 vehicles. Many Alton Telegraph and St. Louis Post-Dispatch articles showcased his collection, which was at Homeridge Farm in Jerseyville for many years and later moved to the former Mercedes dealership building on State Street in North Alton. He donated many cars to museums, including the National Museum of Transport in St. Louis, the Auburn, Cord, Duesenburg Museum in Fort Wayne, Ind., and the Classic Car Club Museum in Hickory Corners, Mich.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons and a daughter-in-law, Robert and Sonia Abbott of Godfrey and Richard "Rick" of Alton; five grandchildren and their spouses, Teresa and Michael St. Peters of Godfrey, Andrea and Aaron Webb of Alton, Jason "J.B." Abbott and Eric Abbott of Alton and Jody and Joe Poletti of Edwardsville; and four great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter in infancy; a granddaughter, Michelle Abbott Brose; and two brothers in infancy.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. today at Elias-Smith Funeral Home in Alton, where services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The Rev. Mark Myers of the First United Methodist Church in Jerseyville will officiate.
Burial will follow at Valhalla Memorial Park in Godfrey.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Jerseyville.
Valhalla Memorial Park and Mausoleum
Created by: Judy Clark-Wick
Record added: Dec 02, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 45019387
David H. Hagen
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