In memoriam: William W. Cushwa (1937–2020)
William W. Cushwa died on September 8 in Mishawaka, Indiana, surrounded by his family. He was 83.
Bill was born on August 15, 1937, to Charles B. Cushwa Jr. and Margaret Hall Cushwa, leaders in both industry and community in Youngstown, Ohio. After earning a B.A. in English at the University of Notre Dame in 1959, Bill returned to Youngstown, where he met Cornell University graduate and journalist Anna Jean Schuler. They married in February 1961 and Bill began a 36-year career with Commercial Intertech Corporation. From his start as a systems analyst, Bill rose to the role of assistant treasurer and earned an M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management in 1975, before becoming vice president of planning, the position from which he retired in 1997.
With his substantial professional responsibilities, Bill paired an active civic and religious life. First in Youngstown and later in South Bend, he served a wide range of organizations, including the South Bend Symphony Orchestra Association, Friends of the St. Joseph County Public Library, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Medical Center, the Youngstown Area Urban League, Sacred Heart Parish and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame, the South Bend Tribune Community Advisory Group, and the Notre Dame Alumni Association. The son, brother, cousin, father, and grandfather of numerous Saint Mary’s College alumnae, Bill also completed several terms on that institution’s board. He received the college’s prestigious President’s Medal in 2020.
In 1998, Bill and Anna Jean’s commitment to Catholic education and the public value of scholarly research led them to commit generous funding that endowed the directorship of the Cushwa Center, a gift they hoped would help the center advance in its relationship with both the Church and the academy. In this, they followed in the steps of Bill’s mother, Margaret Hall Cushwa, whose generosity provided the charitable lead trust that helped establish an endowment for the Cushwa Center in 1981.
In addition to Anna Jean, Bill is survived by his children, Elizabeth Ann Cushwa (Dan Norris), William W. Cushwa Jr. (Elizabeth), Margaret Cushwa Haller (Herb Haller), David F. Cushwa (Sandy), and Anne Jennifer Cushwa; as well as eight grandchildren and one great-grandson. Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Charles B. Cushwa III; and his sister, Mary Ellen Cushwa Wolsonovich.
With abiding gratitude for his exemplary life and a special acknowledgment of his generous support for Catholic studies, we remember Bill Cushwa and extend prayers and condolences to Anna Jean and their family.
This memorial appears in the fall 2020 issue of the American Catholic Studies Newsletter.