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Bill, 86, died June 25, 2016, in Rolla, Missouri. He was born on Oct. 27, 1929 in Escanaba, Michigan. Bill graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in forestry. He started his Forest Service career before he even graduated - first he spent the summer of 1948 on the Kootenai National Forest in Montana as a summer student in a research camp, and then he worked two summers, 1949 and 1951, as a smokejumper out of Missoula, MT. When the Korean War broke out, he joined the U.S. Air Force and served for two years. After serving in the Air Force, he returned to the Forest Service to start his professional career in 1954. Kickbusch had been a District Ranger for the Van Buren Ranger District in 1958, which was then managed by the Shawnee National Forest. He remembered this time fondly in an interview conducted in 2012. "In the 1950s, the District Ranger, that was probably the best job that you could have in the Forest Service," Kickbusch recalled. "You were responsible for your district and anything that went on in your district and that included knowing the people who lived there and I knew every person that lived on the Van Buren District." Bill worked for the USFS for 35 years and spent the last 18 years on the Mark Twain National Forest. After his retirement he remained active in the Rolla (MO) community. He enjoyed volunteering for the Phelps County Elections committee and the Korean War Veterans. He was proud to be selected to participate in the Franklin County Honor Flight to Washington DC in 2014.
Smokejumping; Smokejumpers -- United States; National Smokejumper Association; Wildfire fighters; Obituaries
National Smokejumper Association, "Smokejumper Obituary: Kickbusch, William L. (Missoula 1949)" (2016). Smokejumper Obituaries. 677.