Obituary: William David Traeger
February 20, 1945 – August 1, 2023
William David Traeger, a good man, an honest man, a fair and honorable man, was also a family man. Besides that, he was a physical man—tennis, football, basketball, softball, surfing, sailing, and cross-country skiing. But, for the past fifteen years, Bill was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. However, a blood clot in his leg moved to his lungs. A pulmonary emboli was the cause of his death at age 78.
Born in the Bronx in New York City, on February 20, 1945, Bill moved to the West Coast with his mother and went by the name of Buddy diDonato for his first twenty years. He was a football star at James Monroe High School and was later the first-string quarterback for the UCLA freshman team. Bill married Maureen Kennedy when he was a senior at UCLA. After graduating in Economics, he became involved with marketing for Security Pacific Bank. Later, he was a “workout guy” for the Bank Holding Company of Union Bank where he oversaw troubled loans. One was the Park Avenue project in Park City. Bill kept it afloat by selling the condos individually, then returned to North Hollywood, where he worked for Imperial Bank. Jennefer Nadine Traeger was born in 1971.
In 1975, Bill was asked to be Executive Director of the U.S. Ski Team. There were hardly any stores in Park City, a lame grocery store on Main Street, a fledgling ski resort, no movie theaters, and a two-lane highway to Salt Lake City, but he and his wife decided to make the move. In October of 1978, Bill and the ski team were invited to the White House, and they met with Vice President Walter Mondale. Bill also arranged television rights with CBS for the ski team.
In 1980, he divorced and moved to San Diego, where he built 300-400 apartments. After a few years, he moved back to Salt Lake City and developed two Extra Space storage facilities, became an owner in the Snowflower property units in Park City, and developed two shopping center malls in Park City before returning to Dana Point, CA. There, he sailed his small boat and took classes in calligraphy and Chinese brush painting. He was a consummate artist who was a world traveler. He sculpted, played Texas Hold ‘Em, and collected Asian art, donating a suit of samurai armor to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. In the year 1998, he moved back to Park City where he met Phyllis Barber. The two were married and were still together at Bill’s passing.
Bill is survived by his wife, Phyllis Barber, and brother—Peter diDonato—of Southern California, father to Melody and Greg. His daughter, Jennefer, is married to Jason Ford, and is the mother of Cooper and Thatcher. His deceased sister, Adrianne diDonato, is mother to Josh diDonato of Chicago.
Smooth sailing, wherever you are, Mr. Bill.
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