William Bethke

Computers were not just tools for work to William R. Bethke. There was a logic, an internal magic and mystery that drew him to understand their hummings and beepings. His house in Hamilton, N.J., resembled an elephant’s graveyard for computers. Wires, cables and circuit boards filled his workshop-office and spilled into the basement, some machines partly disassembled, others lovingly rebuilt from spare parts.

'If somebody had an old computer, they would automatically think of Bill; if someone needed a new computer, he would refurbish one and give it to them,' said Mr. Bethke’s wife, Valerie. 'He liked everything that was technical and complex.'

Mr. Bethke, 36, followed his nose for technology pretty much right out of high school, landing a job first at I.B.M., which sent him to school and taught him to diagnose the ailments of sick machines, and later at Marsh & McLennan’s computer processing department at the World Trade Center. He liked to shoot pistols at a gun range with his friend and next-door neighbor, David Koprivich, perhaps from the same impulse — an appreciation of finely tuned mechanical performance.

He was never quite able to communicate the love of technology to his wife, but Ms. Bethke said she got used to it: 'I’d just say, `O.K., honey.’ '

Copyright (c) 2001 by The New York Times Co. Reprinted by permission.

Add Your Own Tribute

All tributes will be reviewed by our site moderators prior to being posted. Tributes will normally be posted on the site within 24 hours of submission.
loading
Hi Bill, Remember the days in the Princeton Data Center? Then we moved to top of WTC. We would always run into each other on the Path Train. Those little moments in life are precious. At the time I took for granted. I hope you still remember. I still listen to the Triumvirat cd's you burned for me some 16 years ago. Every time I try to put them into the CD player, I think of you. Thanks for the freindship and memories.
Mark Konzelman, Colleague
Sep 9 2016 6:30PM
We don't need 911 to remind us. Bill is in our hearts evryday. Nerver forget! Bill. I wish you had opportunity to see your Seahawks play of last few years. You would have been impressed.
mark konzelman,
Sep 13 2015 8:55 AM
Bill, You are still deeply missed by us. You and your family continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
David & Helene Koprivich, Friend
Sep 11 2012 2:35PM
God Bless Bill!!!
Tim Keenan, Friend
Sep 11 2012 1:48PM
From one Hamiltonian to another....you're in our hearts and prayers. God Bless you and your family and friends.
Mark House, Friend
Sep 11 2010 9:27AM
Though our time together was brief the kindness of your spirit and gentle nature left a lasting imprint on my life. My wife and just talked about you on both September 10th and 11th. We have remembered you every year since then. You will never be forgotten.
Khalif Williams, Friend
Sep 13 2009 5:07AM
You are still, and forever will remain, in my thoughts. You are missed my friend.
Tim Keenan, Friend
Sep 9 2009 10:23AM
Still and forever in our hearts. Your passing on that fateful day has left a void in the hearts of all those who got the pleasure of knowing you. Think of you often Bill. You're never forgotten.
Mark Konzelman, Colleague
Sep 11 2008 10:54AM
Sept 11, 2006 Bill was a friend of my husband, they worked at IBM together. Bill refurbished a computer for my son so he could take it to college with him. Bill was always tinkering around with computers. I remember going to his wedding and how happy he was. I remember him and my husband working on our computer in our basement. Bill loved computers. Today is a very hard day for alot of people. God bless the Bethke family, may your memories of Bill stay in your heart forever.
Pat Kaytus, Friend
Sep 11 2006 10:29AM
I really miss you stopping by my cube for a brief discussion on the merits of starbursts vs. skittles. The fact that you were addicted to the tingle in the back of the throat both candies gave you. I think about your consistent candy contributions often and your mischevious gap toothed smile. Bethke's still really missed. b
brandy, Colleague
Jan 14 2003 1:07PM
I've worked with Bill for the past couple years and knew him when he used to service our machines in Princeton. It was a pleasure to work with Bill. Bill was knowledgeable, always happy to help out and always in a good mood. I still have visions of Bill as we used to ride the path train back to Newark and joke around. We never got to see that Todd Rundgren concert together before he passed like we wanted too. But I still have a bunch of out of print CD's that he downloaded from Napster and burned for me. Everytime I play them they remind me of Bill. Rest In Peace Bill.
Mark Konzelman, Friend
Jul 11 2002 12:28PM
Prior to his joining Marsh, Bill working for IBM and served as our Customer Service Engineer. We can never forget the smile that always led him into our office when help was needed. No matter how bad our situation seemed to be, we knew we were in good hands. Bill was friendly, knowledgable and quick when it came to solving our problems and answering our questions. We spent several long nights and weekends with him during system upgrades or repairs, and his sense of humor always made the time go faster and smoother. We were very upset to hear Bill was leaving IBM. Our service just never seemed the same without him. Marsh was very lucky to get Bill, and we were very lucky to have had the opportunity to know him, even if it was for only a short time. The Information Technologies Department of Princeton Insurance Company sends it's warmest regards to the Bethke Family, the MMC Family, and the others affected by this tragedy.
Mark Sloss - Princeton Insurance Company, Colleague
Jun 26 2002 3:49PM