It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Bill Koretz (“Billy”), a well known resident of Ketchum, ID. Billy was born on June 26, 1942 in Highland Park, Illinois. He was the son of Frances and Robert Koretz, the latter a talented advertising executive. His immediate family includes daughter Frannie and husband Mike Pergola, three granddaughters (Gianna, Ella and Mia), brothers Allan Koretz and wife Tracy, and the late John Koretz and wife Carol.
As a child Billy became enamored with water sports, swimming in the lake with his family, water skiing and sailing. During his high school years, he became an accomplished swimmer specializing in the butterfly stroke and still holds a pool record at his high school. After that it was off to Trinity College in Hartford, CT followed by the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business where he earned an MBA. Then, recruited by Lever Brothers, he moved to New York City soon becoming the brand manager for “Mrs. Butterworth’s Syrup”.
About that time, he met Susie Pfeffer in Fire Island, NY. They fell in love and were married in Houston, Texas in June 1969. Soon thereafter they decided to start a restaurant and conceived and developed the “Shrimp Walk,” which became famous in Highwood, IL. The Shrimp Walk also became a popular late-night gathering place for many of Bill’s friends, and the site of several well remembered “Liar’s Poker” games.
Then along came Frannie (now Frances (Koretz) Pergola) his only child and the love of his life. The family lived in Bannockburn, IL, where he continued to pursue his passions of swimming and horses. Billy always loved pets, from his dogs Romeo as a child to Walker and then Sam. In his final years, he switched to cats and his beloved Luka and Reese.
Billy moved to Ketchum in 1987, where he had many friends. He interacted with local citizens daily as the manager of the Sun Valley Athletic Club and then the pool and fitness director at the Valley Club.
As the owner of the Ketchum Cookie Company, he also was a frequent vendor for Atkinson’s. Finally, he became one of the first Uber drivers in Ketchum and gravitated to handling private clients who loved his friendly disposition.
Bill always took advantage of Ketchum’s passion for physical fitness. He was well known for his 8-mile walks throughout Ketchum, Elkhorn, Sun Valley and Adams Gulch.
Bill also had a passion for travel. He annually spent Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas with Frannie, Tracy and Allan. He also loved his annual trips to Mesquite to golf, gamble and attend the World Long Drive Championships with brothers. The three Koretz boys even developed their own secret language that allowed them to communicate and laugh a lot in public venues. Bill also traveled extensively in Spain with Allan.
Summer was Bill’s favorite time of the year. For the past 15 years, Frannie and her family have spent July and August in Ketchum with him. During this time, they bonded and took advantage of all this special city has to offer: Ketchum Alive, Gallery Walks, Redfish Lake, Art Fairs, Wine Auction and so much more. He also enjoyed going to her home in Boston and watching his granddaughters grow from birth to beautiful and talented teenagers.
Although Bill had a full life, he will be missed by all that knew him but especially his very close family. He was in contact daily with Frannie, Mike, Gianna, Ella and Mia, his dear friend Zeffy as well Tracy and Allan. He also was close to his niece Leslie Heros and nephews Bobby, Ricky, Ronnie, JK and their wives and children. In addition, he will be remembered by his step family – Charlie Gunn and his wife Amy, Giles and Katie.
A celebration of his Bill’s life will be held Friday, July 22nd at 4pm at the Ketchum Rotary Park.
Rest in peace Billy – We love you!