MADISON - The journey ended for William A. "Billy" Carow on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011, at Four Winds Manor, with his children by his side.
Bill was born June 9, 1924, in Duluth, Minn., son of Paul F. and Mary V. (Powers) Carow, he moved to Madison in 1931. Bill attended Madison Central High School and was All-City Center in 1941. After graduation from high school, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. He completed flight training and served as both co-pilot and then pilot of a B-24 bomber after being promoted to 1st Lt. He flew nine missions over Germany with the 465th Bombardment Group and was then reassigned to the 15th Special Group (Provisional), 885th Squadron. This was a secret unit assigned to fly low level (500ft.) missions dropping OSS agents, supplies and weapons to the Resistance in various areas; while with the 885th he flew an additional 41 missions. After completing his 50 missions he was returned to the U.S. where he trained pilots until his separation. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, 10 Air Medals, The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
After his separation from the military, Bill married his High School sweetheart Jean A. Conner on Sept. 6, 1945, and they enjoyed 65 years of marriage until her death August 23rd of this year. He attended UW-Madison majoring in education and worked for a short time as a teacher.
In 1988 District Chief Carow retired from the City of Madison Fire Department after 40 years and four months of service. He loved the job, the firefighters he worked with and the City he helped to protect.
Bill first competed as a speed skater at the age of 12 and although his career was suspended due to the war, marriage, children and the fire department, he returned to the sport on a bet and a six-pack of beer. In 1954 at the Great Lakes Speed Skating Championship he skated the 220 yards in 17.7 seconds beating the previous World Record time of 18.9 seconds. The track was re-measured and found accurate but no official claim was ever made. At the age of 31, Bill competed at the 1956 Winter Olympic Games in Cortina, Italy and placed sixth overall in the 500m. He came home with a pair of steel blades that he received from the Russians after skating a 500m race in 41.3 seconds a week before the Olympics, it was the fastest time anyone outside of Russia had ever officially been clocked for the distance. Four years later he competed in the 500m at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games held in Squaw Valley, Calif., but fell during his race.
Bill was enshrined in the Madison Sports Hall of Fame on June 4, 1969.
Bill is survived by his four children, Michael (Gloria) Carow, Linda (Bryan) Thompson, Thomas (Terri) Carow and Katie (Mark) Traver; 10 grandchildren, Christine, Tom, Lori, Melanie, Jill, Annie, Paul, Joey, Sarah and Heather; 10 great-grandchildren; his sister, Eileen; his nieces, Mary and Joann; and nephew, John. He is also survived by his wonderful friend, Don Annen. Bill also leaves behind his faithful companion of 14 years, his dog Lacey and cat Lily.
He was also preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Mary; and a half-sister, Marion.
The family would like to thank Four Winds Manor in Verona for their kind and compassionate care and St. Jude Hospice for their tremendous support and comfort of our father in his last days. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, at 11 a.m. at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 401 South Owen Drive with Msgr. Kenneth Fiedler presiding. Burial will follow at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. at JOYCE-RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 5701 Odana Road and again on Wednesday at church from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass. Memorials may be directed to Second Harvest Food Bank or St. Jude Hospice in Bill's name.
"Dad, it's been a hell of a ride and we thank you for taking us with you! You will always be our hero."
To view and sign this guestbook, please visit www.ryanfuneralservice.com.
Joyce-Ryan Funeral Home
& Cremation Services
5701 Odana Road