William Walsh Clair was a person who truly liked and appreciated people. He passed away on May 16 at the age of 74 enveloped in the love of his family and friends.
Bill grew up in the Canaryville neighborhood of Chicago, where he developed his unique combination of tough fighter, humorous conversationalist, and empathetic leader that he carried with him throughout his life. After graduating from Leo High School on Chicago’s southside and Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Bill embarked on a 34-year career with the Chicago Public Schools as a teacher on the southeast side (Bowen High School) and the far north side (Mather High School). He completed his master’s degree in education at NIU, while working full-time, then finally ended up back in Canaryville as the principal at Graham Elementary, the same school where he would chip away the ice to play pickup basketball as a kid.
Bill was a true jack-of-all-trades and really exemplified the “oftentimes better than master of one” part of the saying. A master educator, he constantly innovated on the best ways to reach and teach children. When a school event for one of his kids needed a poem for the yearbook cover, he supplied it. When a grandchild needed to connect historical events to the modern world, he helped them. In addition to that vocation, he was a passionate athlete and coach, notably of football and baseball. He excelled at tennis, skiing, and golf, bringing the subsequent Clair generations into all of those sports. He developed a love of hiking that took him around the US and all the way to Nepal seeking adventure.
Among all his loves, Bill loved to read and talk to people about what he was reading. Throughout his retirement, he read anything he could get his hands on and was always passing books along to others — not just in a blanket fashion, either. He would call the specific person he thought would get the most out of the book and then follow up to hear what they thought.
He will truly be missed by all those who were lucky enough to be a part of his life.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents Joe and Mary (née Walsh) Clair, his loving sisters Bonnie (late Ken) Dineen and Maureen (Harvey) Munis, and his nephews Kenny and John Dineen. He is survived by his loving partner Joann Seminetta, his sons Joseph (Deborah Steimel) and Scott (Elyse), his grandchildren Dylan (Amber Urich), Fíona, Liam, Jack, Brynn, Maggie, and Niamh, his ex-wife and friend Sally Clair, and two loving brothers-in-law, Harvey Munis and Vic Bassi.
The family will receive friends at St Gabriel’s Parish (where it all began for Bill) on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. until time of Funeral Mass at 10:00 am. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Leo High School Alumni Association in his honor (https://leoalumni.org/donations/).
Please visit WILLIAM WALSH book of memories. To express your thoughts or memories in the online guest book, visit http://WWW.CHAPELC.COM or FACEBOOK.COM/FUNERALMC. For information 773 268-0703 or 773 581-9000.