William "Bill" D. Severinghaus

September 15, 1942November 30, 2018

William D. (Bill) Severinghaus of rural Mahomet, Illinois, died on November 30. He is survived by Mary, his wife of 42 years, and their two sons, Bill Severinghaus of Rantoul and Steven Severinghaus of Brooklyn. His twin sister Jane (Severinghaus) Haff and brothers Charles Severinghaus and Mark Czerwiec also survive. He also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. He was preceded in death by his father, his mother, and his stepmother.

He was born in Ithaca, New York on September 15, 1942 to Charles William Severinghaus and Ethel Long Severinghaus. Soon after, his family moved to Voorheesville, New York, where Bill and his siblings grew up. After an early pursuit of a culinary career and working as head chef in a Syracuse country club, he began following his lifelong love of science. He earned his PhD in biology from the University of Illinois in 1975. Soon after receiving his doctorate, Bill worked for 35 years for the USA Department of Defense USA-CERL in Champaign, Illinois. There, among many other accomplishments, he started the Integrated Training Areas Management program, which taught military installations how to rotate acreage to maintain realistic training grounds for troops. His ITAM program played an important role in the protection of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

Bill was an avid and active member of the Barbershop Harmony Society for many years. His grandfather and father before him were also Barbershoppers, and his son Steve carries on the tradition in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. One of Bill’s proudest achievements was being awarded the Society’s International Award for Public Relations.

Bill and Mary were lifelong birders, carrying their binoculars and field guides from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans, to Nova Scotia, Norway, and Germany. They also loved lighthouses, and always included them in their journeys when they could. They were fortunate for many decades to have the use of the old family deer camp in the Adirondack Mountains, where so many Severinghaus family and friends made wonderful lifelong memories of fishing, sailing, swimming, hiking, and blueberry picking in that beautiful wilderness.

He will be remembered as kind man with a great heart, a patient and loving father and spouse, a person of unflinching loyalty to his family and friends, and as a mentor to many. He enjoyed being mistaken for Santa Claus by wide-eyed children while shopping.

A secular celebration of Bill’s life will be held on Friday, December 7, from 4PM to 7PM at the Lake of the Woods Pavilion in Mahomet, Illinois. All who knew Bill are invited to attend. The family asks that remembrances be memorial contributions to The Nature Conservancy.


  • The Nature Conservancy


  • Secular Celebration of Bill's life Friday, December 7, 2018

William "Bill" D. Severinghaus

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David Tazik

December 3, 2018

So sorry to hear of Bill's passing. I had the opportunity to work for and with with Bill for many years at CERL (1984-1997). I appreciate his dedication, integrity, work ethic, and kindness during the many ups and downs working together on military lands natural resource management issues. He was always in the forefront of our efforts and key to their success. He treated me well despite my being one of his more irascible colleagues.

Bill leaves behind an impressive legacy as a result of both his personal and professional accomplishments. Certainly one in which his family can take great pride. May he rest in peace.

With deepest sympathies and best wishes.

Dave and Pam Tazik
Erie, CO