William Louis (Bill) Luntz passed away peacefully in his home, with his devoted wife Sharon and his family by his side, on January 1, 2022, at the age of 97. Bill was born on December 11, 1924, in Canton, Ohio, to Abe and Fan Luntz. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 41 years, Denise Guyot Luntz, his parents and his siblings; Robert Luntz, Joan Luntz Goulder, Richard Luntz, and Ted Luntz. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Sharon Krabill Luntz, sisters-in-law, Idarose Luntz and Kay Luntz , and his children, sons Randy (Rita), Gregory (Janet), Andrew ( JuDeane) and daughter Michelle Luntz. In addition, he is survived by grandchildren Jennifer Luntz Spring (Dan), Melissa Luntz Antol (Kyle), Adam Luntz (Jodi), Ashley Luntz Shaheen ( Michael), Allison Luntz Laber (Christopher), Shaina Luntz Wilkins (Jason), Justin Luntz, and 12 great grandchildren.
Born at Mercy Hospital, and attending Belle Stone Elementary School, Bill was a true native of Canton. His family moved to Cleveland during his youth and after graduating from University School, he enlisted and served in the Army Air Corps as a Corporal. He later attended Western Reserve University. While in Europe during World War II, stationed in France, Bill met his first wife, Denise Guyot at a USO dance. Even the Atlantic Ocean could not prevent them from being together and they were married on July 11, 1948.
Denise described their life together as “golden” as they raised a family, grew a business and supported the community they both loved. Tragically, in 1989, Bill lost Denise to illness when she was just 61. Bill was blessed to marry Sharon to help carry on his passion for community work and to be by his side for the next 30 years.
Bill’s life was a celebration of love, commitment, dedication and compassion that was reflected in every aspect of his life’s endeavors. Family, however, was Bill’s top priority. He would always say, “Nothing is more important than family” and his love and devotion was truly unconditional and selfless.
Bill’s professional career began in the family metals business, Luntz Iron & Steel, in 1948. He was instrumental and an integral part of the growth and success of what became the Luntz Corporation. His positions in the corporation ascended from Vice-President, President to Chairman until he retired.
Though small in stature, Bill proved to be an outstanding athlete in his day. He excelled in track as a formidable sprinter as well as a standout guard on the basketball court. While serving in the Army, Bill became the boxing champion in his weight class along with winning the ping-pong championships. In their 40’s tennis became Bill and Denise’s new passion. Over the years both became quite accomplished, winning numerous club level events. They loved the game and it was one of their favorite things to do together.
Suffering a heart attack at 40, Bill, unknowingly, became a pioneer for the times. Told by his doctors and cardiologists to live a quiet and sedentary life, Bill did the complete opposite. He knew in order to make his heart stronger it needed to be used. His courage and determination to be healthy led him to a dedicated and disciplined lifestyle of proper nutrition and exercise.
The Downtown YMCA and its’ staff became an extension of his family. The Y was a part of Bill’s daily routine for well over 40 years. Leading by example, which Bill believed was the only way, all four children were soon to follow in his footsteps. Running became a family affair for years.
Bill was awarded the Canton Junior Chamber Man of the Year award in 1960 and was the United Fund Campaign Chair in 1971. He also was awarded the United Way Golden Key award as well as the Canton Chamber of Commerce Award of Merit. These are four of the many awards and honors Bill received. His endless drive for giving back to the community resulted in compiling a legendary list of leadership in countless organizations such as, Stark Community Foundation, United Way of Central Stark County, YMCA, Walsh University, Stark State College, and Northeast Ohio Medical University to name a few. He was so passionate about every single organization he worked with and their missions.
Saving the Canton Palace Theatre from demolition and assisting in its recovery was one of Bill’s proudest accomplishments, earning him their first Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, on the brink of being permanently shut down, Bill’s tireless efforts were instrumental to the continuation of public transportation service for Stark County through SARTA.
Bill could not have been more serious about the importance of education. It was his belief that education was the vehicle and road to success for all youth. Bill was a founder of Canton Country Day School as well as a founder of one of his favorite endeavors, Project Wheelbarrow. Its programming was dedicated to the mentoring of at risk students. Bill, as well as the many volunteer mentors he drafted, served the Canton City Schools from the grade school level through high school. Students were encouraged to learn and adhere to Bill’s Wheelbarrow Creed: Be Kind, Do the Right Thing, Be Your Own Person, Strive to Excel and Do Not Give into Peer Pressure.
Bill developed a passion for art later in his life and created his colorful drawings that he gave to many friends throughout Stark County. As said by one of his friends, “A man of profound spirituality which transcends religious boundaries, he often reflected this in his art.” One of his favorite creations was entitled, “Diversity in Concert”. The caption that he wrote below the art work reads, “The “Diversity in Concert” design is meant to highlight the virtues of embracing and including many different forms, shapes, and colors that contribute and create an added beauty and charm that would not exist were it not for diversity. This design is a metaphor for appreciating and valuing the diversity in all cultures in the human race.”
Bill was a lifelong member of Temple Israel. Although not overt about his faith, Bill was extremely proud of his heritage and it was of great importance to him. He had a thirst for knowledge and understanding of all religions which led him to love the prayer by Saint Francis Of Assisi entitled, “A Simple Prayer”. Bill became known for handing out copies of the prayer to many people he met. In his search for more meaning and purpose Bill perpetuated his legacy by saying, “If I can bring a smile to a child’s face, make a lonely senior feel a little less lonely or help make my community a little better, then I know that I have served a good purpose – perhaps even a divine purpose.”
The Luntz family would like to express its deepest appreciation and gratitude to the aides of Helping Hands whose care and compassion meant so much to Bill and his family the past few years. The family also thanks Aultman Hospice for their outstanding service and care provided in Bill’s last days.
The family had a private service and internment. A Celebration of Life will be held in the future.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in William’s honor to Stark Community Foundation, United Way of Stark County, The Canton Palace Theatre, YMCA of Central Stark County or a charity of your choice. Condolences and memories can be shared at www.arnoldfuneralhome.com
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