By Patrick Foster
It is once again my sad duty to report to my fellow Nash enthusiasts the passing of another great Nash-Kelvinator and Nash Motors executive. William E. Reddig, former assistant director of styling for Nash, passed away on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm. Thankfully his passing was a peaceful one. His wife, Betty, passed away the same day, within two hours of Bill’s death.
Bill was born August 8, 1923, to James and Rhoda Reddig of New Jersey. Bill was the youngest of four children. As a youngster he showed great talent in drawing. Upon graduating high school Bill decided on a course of study in industrial design and management. He graduated from Pratt Institute determined to become a car designer. Bill first worked for Ford but within a short time was asked to come to Nash-Kelvinator, where he was interviewed and hired by Nash Styling Director Ed Anderson.
At Nash, Bill worked on what became the 1952 Ambassador and Statesman, and then on the restyling of the Rambler for 1953. He continued designing cars in the Nash Styling Department eventually becoming Assistant Director of Styling under Ed Anderson. Bill is credited with coming up with the Rambler station wagon’s trademark roof dip, as just one aspect of his overall work on the landmark 1956 Rambler series. The last car he worked on was the 1961 Rambler. In 1959 Bill moved over to the Kelvinator Division to become Director of Styling.
Bill wanted to serve his country in World War Two, so he volunteered for the air force. He was commissioned as a Navy Pilot through the V5 Program shortly after the conclusion of the war. Bill flew AD-4J Skyraider attack aircraft for the Navy Reserve at NAS Grosse Isle, resigning his commission in 1956 after the birth of his third child, his daughter Ann. He continued his service to his country as an active member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary at the helm of his yacht The Annie C, based in Petoskey Michigan.
Bill and Betty were married in 1947 at the Little Church around the Corner in Manhattan. They renewed their vows at the same church in 2007 on the occasion of their 60th anniversary, a gala occasion that will be remembered by the numerous extended family and friends who attended.
On a more personal level, Bill was simply the nicest person I’ve ever met. He became like a big brother to me as we became close friends. The times we spent together at car shows are some of the best days of my life. I’ll miss him, as we all will. Men like Bill Reddig come along perhaps once in a lifetime.