William A Louttit of West Milford, NJ, age 77, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, November 11, 2023. The family is deeply saddened and shocked by his sudden death.
On July 28, 1946, Bill was born to William J. Louttit and Anne E. Burgess, who raised him in City Island in the Bronx, NY. He graduated from Blessed Sacrament High School in June of 1964, and won a scholarship to Iona College (Iona University today). He continued his education at CCNY, but quickly found success in his job at Grand Union.
Bill contributed to the food industry for 60 years, during which time he was named Food Industry Man of the Year by Deborah Hospital, Metro New York Frozen Food Association, and the NJ Food Council. In addition to these professional accolades, Bill won the love and respect of many colleagues for his keen intelligence, effective business mentality, fun-loving personality, and generous heart. Bill was also a source of inspiration for many, as he worked hard throughout his life, and his professional trajectory presents an example of the kind of success and social mobility that many people aspire to achieve.
Bill's first daughter was born when he was 18 years old and a first-year student at CCNY. To support his family, Bill worked stocking shelves at Grand Union, which turned out to be the beginning of his long and productive career in the food industry. Within a year, Bill was promoted to store manager. By age 29, he had become the youngest Vice President (VP) in Grand Union's 100 year history. During the remainder of his 30-year career at Grand Union, Bill also served as Executive VP of Merchandising and Marketing, Chief Operating Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors. In 1996, Bill became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the 5-division Northeast Operation of A&P, Waldbaum's, Food Emporium, Super Fresh, and Super Food. Then, in 2004, Bill established the brand management and consulting group WAL and Associates, where he led the successful positioning and launch of a number of retail brands, including Cibo Vita Inc, Golden Platter, and Smart Juice.
Throughout everything he did, Bill carried with him a deep curiosity and passion to do his best. As a manager and as a father, Bill aimed to inspire the people around him to achieve the best that they could, and believed that everyone should also be inspired by this growth mindset. He clearly expressed his thoughts and opinions, but also made an effort to listen carefully and understand where everyone around him was coming from. This mentality and approach helped him in the workplace and was instrumental in helping him to help his friends and family, but also inspired in him a passion for reading history and his lifelong journey towards exploring and understanding how people live. This deep interest in people's lives motivated him to be the driving force behind numerous elaborate family vacations to Aruba, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Greece, and Panama, among others. On these trips, Bill always sought to bring back with him a new perspective by talking to people and trying to find out about the things that moved them and influenced their lives.
Bill was fortunate to always be surrounded by family and community, and he was a true patriarch who made a tremendous effort to make sure his family was taken care of and able to achieve the best that they could. His listening skills and determination helped him to intervene in the lives of many friends and family members. Many times, these interventions were in the professional realm, but Bill also worked tirelessly to understand and navigate medical and academic systems to help the people he loved maximize their utilization of and outcomes from these systems.
Bill was also blessed to marry three incredible women, who each brightened and helped to define different phases of his life. In the year that he graduated from high school, Bill married Antoinette Louttit (nee Saxer), with whom he had three children. They lived together in New York, NY, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, and Ringwood, NJ with their children and dalmatian, Sparky. Bill later re-married Kathy Salsbury (nee Patterson), with whom he lived in Ramsey, NJ with their two Havanese dogs Max and Mollie. Bill played a big part in the lives of his step-children from this marriage, and will be remembered for his generous nature, big heart, and steadfast friendship. Bill's final marriage was to his life and business partner Ayse Hacisalihoglu, PhD, with whom he lived in Ringwood, NJ and West Milford, NJ. Bill and Ayse made a formidable team, and together brought much success to WAL and associates ventures. They also had a warm and loving home, with their doors always open to new and old friends. This generosity and hospitality boosted up and fostered the hearts of friends and family, and built up the love within their community.
In addition to many friends, Bill is survived by many loving family members, including his wife Ayse, children Chris and Alicia, brother Keith Louttit, son-in-law John, daughter-in-law Jeanine, grandchildren Olivia, Robert, Joseph, Christopher, Dana, and Brianna, step-children Jeff and Julie, his nieces Dina and Amy and nephew Billy. Bill was predeceased by his parents William and Anne, his daughter Denise, his first wife Toni, his sister Joanne, and his son-in law John.
A solemn service will be held on Saturday, November 18 from 1-5 pm at the Oakland Memorial Funeral Home, in Oakland, NJ. Family, friends, and loved ones are invited to come together and celebrate Bill's life