Stecher, William Taylor

William Taylor Stecher graduated the University of Oklahoma with a B.S.Arch., after which he worked for a Dallas, Texas architecture and planning firm. He joined the Peace Corps in 1966, training at the University of Washington, Seattle, for Bolivia 20 (rural community development).

Following the Peace Corps, Bill was drafted into the Army, serving in Panama as an engineer, using his architecture degree and his Spanish facility. Moving to Chicago in 1972, he practiced architecture until his 2006 retirement. In 1979 he joined The Architects Partnership (TAP) where he became a partner. Through mutual friends from his PC training group, he met and then married in 1980 his wife, Mary, living in Downers Grove, a western suburb of Chicago, in a home he designed. Bill was very active in Barack Obama's Senate campaign and his first Presidential campaign.

Prior to retirement, the Stechers purchased a home in the mountains outside the City of Oaxaca, Mexico -- a jewel of a city, the epicenter of Mexican handicrafts, outstanding regional food, wonderful people and the land of eternal Springtime. Oaxaca revitalized Bill's Peace Corps spirit, interests and talents. He delighted in using his architectural abilities to assist in planning with the local community. He would say with relish that his best Peace Corps projects were in Oaxaca. For seven years, he was actively involved with the Real Architectural Workshop (RAW) which creates projects designed to give hands-on experiences for architecture students. For a week, students design and construct simple buildings in collaboration with the village of San Pablo Etla. Bill worked on 5 RAW projects, serving as the intermediary between the community leaders of San Pablo and the projects. The community of San Pablo honored Bill for his efforts and dedicated a memorial to him at the site of the projects.

Bill's other passions were birding and quilt making. His work on the bird life of San Pablo Etla in Oaxaca made significant contributions to the environmental community. His quilts are an extraordinary artistic expression that reflect his architectural sensibilities. In retirement, he also became an excellent washtub bass player. Bill lived a life of purpose in all that he did. He was generous with his gifts, thoughtful in his actions and great fun. Bill was killed along with 3 friends on August 28, 2015 on the Interstate Highway in Mexico while headed to a birding excursion.