Will Tressler (80), beloved husband of Katie McCann Tressler for 38 years, passed away peacefully in his home in Easton, CT on the morning of January 2, 2012. Born on June 29, 1931 in Gloucester, MA to the late Donald and Ella Tressler, Will was predeceased by his older sister Eleanor Tressler Brown. Will is survived by his wife Katie, his two children, Daniel Tressler and Sally Tressler Connolly, her husband, Damien, and their four children, Colman, Tiernan, Clara and Tristan Connolly.
Will was often described as a “Renaissance Man”. Not only was he passionate about his family, traditional music, design, antique cars, gardening, building stonewalls, travel, historical home, barn & farmland preservation, and musical & spiritual fellowship, Will also managed to excel at most every endeavor. He was proud to have completed and published his life memoirs, entitled “Start-Ups, Setbacks, Surprises, Strategies, Solutions & Success” just the week preceding his death.
Will attended elementary school in Geneva, NY and graduated from Staples High School in Westport, CT in 1948. Will received a B.A. in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY in 1952 and after his graduation, enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. He was appointed to Officer Candidate School at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, was commissioned as an Ensign in December 1953. Will was assigned as an Officer on the USCGC Campbell from 1954-1955 and was later promoted to Lieutenant, Junior Grade and assigned as a Watch Officer at the USCG Rescue Coordination Center in NYC from 1955-1956.
From 1956-1972, Will focused on his industrial design career, having worked for John Sonoda, custom furniture designer in Darien, CT, for Jakob Jensen Design in Copenhagen, Denmark, and for The University of Bridgeport as a professor of Industrial Design for 13 years. In 1980, Will took over as President and CEO of his father’s agriculture, nutrition, food and hospitality publishing business, AVI Publishing Company, where Will had worked in print layout and graphic design.
Will’s private architectural design practice grew steadily from 1962 to 2008 as word spread of his exceptional hand-drafting abilities and personalized, historically-accurate, and form-meets-function residential designs. Will also devoted countless hours to his many musical endeavors, hobbies, and preservation causes. From the early 1960s, Will was a member of the Easton Banjo Society and a founding member/organizer of The Jackson Pike Skifflers, in which he performed with his immediate family and various other exceptional musicians over the years. He had the honor to play music at many venues during his life including The White House in Washington, D.C., Lincoln Center in NYC, the Great Hudson River Revival concerts with Pete Seeger, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission as part of a gospel music ministry, Christ Church of Easton for the annual Christmas concert/fundraiser, and of course, the much-loved Tressler Barn, home to many concerts, parties, and hootenannies. It was Will’s love of music and his participation in many summer concert series that prompted him to rally for a gazebo/bandstand in Easton; His early efforts in the 1980s finally came to fruition with the help of other activists and music-lovers, when one was constructed on the Easton Community Center grounds in 2009.
Will, also affectionately known as “Easton’s Rural Character”, was a founding member of the Citizens for Easton (CFE), a group “working to protect the beauty and character of Easton”. He was involved in the creation of the Easton Agricultural Commission and the Morehouse Road farming initiative on municipal land and he also served as the Architectural Preservation Advisor for the Historical Society of Easton.
Visiting hours will be held from 5-8pm on Thursday, January 5th at Commerce Hill Funeral Home located at 4798 Main Street in Bridgeport, CT. The funeral service will be held at 10 am on Friday, January 6th at Christ Church located at 59 Church Rd. in Easton, CT. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations to the Mary McCann Bradicich Fund, Bridgeport Rescue Mission, or the CFE Farm Trust be sent to 146 Bibbins Rd. Easton, CT 06612.