William Paul Muchow was born December 19, 1945, in Pittsburgh, PA, the child of William Godfrey Muchow and Cecilia ODonnell Muchow. His father was a certified public accountant and his mother an accountant, and Bill followed a similar path, enjoying a fulfilling work career as well as many volunteer roles with CPA societies and community theatre organizations.
Growing up, Bill was active as manager of his schools track and cross country teams. After graduating high school in 1963 he joined the Glenshaw Players stage crew and built sets for summer shows at The Little Red Barn Theatre, sparking a life-long interest in technical theatre.
He attended Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, graduating in 1967 with a major in accounting, economics and business administration, and a minor in history and political science. As a freshman he was football team manager and then helped the theatre department build a nativity scene for its holiday show. The theatre director liked his work and recruited Bill to work on the big spring show, Mikado, the first of many theatre and music shows at Westminster for which he served as assistant technical director. He began a long career of using his fiscal skills as treasurer by serving in that role for several fraternities, Alpha Sigma Phi, Alpha Phi Omega and Masquers, a senior drama fraternity.
In the summers he worked for his fathers accounting firm, Muchow & Co., and then for a public accounting firm in Pittsburgh. He attended graduate school at Penn State in State College, PA. With his MBA degree he became a certified public accountant he joined Arthur Young & Co. in Pittsburgh, followed by two years as an internal auditor for Westinghouse Electric in Buffalo, NY, before joining Thermo King in Minneapolis.
At Thermo King he worked first as supervisor of accounting, then general accounting manager. Reorganization created international and domestic jobs, and he took the international one, spending almost three years in Galway, Ireland as a controller. After another reorganization he returned to Minneapolis as manager of business and financial planning, where his responsibilities included being in charge of accounting; looking over the financials of possible acquisitions; consolidating, buying and selling companies; reviewing and signing contracts; handling price controls during the Nixon administration; overseeing duty work on imports and exports; and figuring out tax implications of having plants and work forces, both union and non-union, in different countries. He quit counting his transatlantic crossings when he reached 100. In 1997, Ingersoll Rand acquired Thermo King from Westinghouse, and it later became a subsidiary of Trane Technologies, but its corporate headquarters remains in Bloomington, two miles from the home where hes lived for 40 years. Bill retired in 2008.
Throughout his business career, he maintained memberships in the Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New York societies of CPAs. He served on the state board as treasurer, vice president and committee member.
Bill devoted much of his off-work energies to the world of community theatre at local, state, national and international levels. His many contributions came on the production, technical and administrative sides of making somewhere close to 200 theatre productions. (His only onstage roles were in 5th grade in an all-childrens show and later as stage manager for the Little Red Barns The Ghost Train, when he was an eerie green ghost face peering through a window.)
When he worked in Ireland, Thermo Kings theatre group entered Tops of the Town, a competition among companies, with the finals broadcast on TV. Bill helped with sets and as assistant stage manager.
The first Minnesota show he worked on was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum by Prior Lake Players. His abilities designing sets, solving technical problems and making sure the books balanced, often as treasurer, then led to leadership positions with Community Theatre of Burnsville (now Applause Community Theatre), Dakota Fine Arts Consortium, and state, national and international community theatre associations. He also founded two companies, the Minnesota Short Play Club and Minnesota Short Play Company, to provide additional opportunities for presenting and supporting new theatre works.
Bill served on the board of the Lake Alimagnet Center for the Arts in Burnsville, and was president for two years preceding the construction of the Burnsville Performing Arts Center (now the Ames Center), which opened in 2009. He served on the committee that drew up the original specs for its two theatres.
Bills involvement with theatre festivals began when he joined the Minnesota Association of Community Theatres (MACT). He attended his first MACT*Fest in 1989 in Elk River and his first national AACT*Fest in 1993 in Knoxville, TN. He was elected to the MACT board in 1992, later serving as treasurer, and was president (1995-1999) when it celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1997 and held one of its largest festivals in Hibbing in 1999. He helped produce and design a number of festival shows for the Dakota Fine Arts Consortium, including several that advanced to region and national festivals 2005 region: The Andersonville Trial; 2009 region: Wandas Visit; 2013 national: Leading Ladies).
He co-chaired a 7-state Region Festival in Albert Lea in 1991, two Region Conferences 1994 in Minneapolis and 1998 at the Rochester Playwright Festival in collaboration with Midwest Theatre Network and the 2002 AACT National Conference in Minneapolis. With other MACT board members, he toured the state in the MACTmobile (his Jeep or Donna Norbergs Cadillac) to communicate with community theatres from Crookston to Grand Marais, and from Lake Benton and Luverne to Lanesboro and Plainview. He received MACTs highest award, the Fliehr Award, in 2005, recognizing distinguished service to Minnesota theatre.
On the national level, he assumed many roles with the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT). He served on the Audit, Finance, Educational Development, Festival, International and Endowment committees. He was AACT treasurer for six years, Endowment treasurer, a Festival Commission representative, executive vice president and then had everyone on the national board report to him during his two-year term as president in 2007-09. (Two of MACTs founders, Kay and Richard Fliehr of Edina, were also national presidents in the 1970s.) In 2005 Bill was named an AACT Fellow (for contributing significantly to the idea and ideal of community theatre and to AACT), and in 2012 he received AACTs Art Cole Award (honoring a lifetime of leadership in community theatre at the local, regional and national levels).
Bills role on the AACT International Committee led to serving as a U.S. delegate at four World Congresses of the World International Amateur Theatre Association (IATA), and as vice president of the North American Regional Alliance and a board member of Theatre USA. He attended international festivals in Ankara, Turkey; Monaco; Morocco; Nova Scotia; Dundalk, Ireland; Racine, WI; Benton Harbor, MI; Midland, TX; and Venice, FL.
Look through the list of contributors in playbills in Minnesota from Rochester to Duluth and you will probably discover that Bills memberships and contributions have for many years been a mainstay of individual theatres, metro arts organizations, MACT and AACT.
Bill developed diabetes, and in 2004 began 18 years of dialysis. In 2008 he fell from a ladder while removing Christmas lights and broke bones in his leg, arm and elbow. This slowed his mobility over the years and added a cane to his fashion statement, but also prompted MACT and AACT to update their accessibility policies so that every event would be held in an accessible facility (so that the national president would be able to attend).
His recent health issues with diabetes, lung and heart didnt keep him from attending virtual board meetings, but complications led to stays at Fairview Southdale Hospital and one final day of hospice.
Bill is survived by many friends, including Donna Norberg, whose Palm Springs, CA, home provided welcome relief over a number of winters, as well as many theatre friends who respected Bills abilities, kindness and generosity over many years. A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, June 25th with additional details announced on the Gill Brothers Funeral Home website (https://www.gillbrothers.com; 952-888-7771, 9947 Lyndale Ave. S., Bloomington) and on www.MACT.net. As Bill has done countless times, consider both applauding and donating to your favorite theatre.
MACT is also setting up a memorial fund in Bills name. You may send donations to the fund by sending your check to this address: MACT 245 Cedar Ave Minneapolis, MN 55454. Or use our GiveMN Donations page by clicking here. Or make a donation through our ticketing site by clicking here.