William Tagmyer ’60, a longtime University of Portland board member, passed away on Sept. 27, 2013, after a short battle with cancer. He was 75.
Even as he faced death, friends say he was unfailingly positive. Tagmyer approached his cancer treatment the same way he approached business, philanthropy and volunteering: with a big smile.
“I’m sure he had his down moments, but I never saw it,” said University of Portland President E. William Beauchamp. “He always seemed to be in a good mood.”
Tagmyer served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve before settling into the steel business. He ran Northwest Pipe Company for nearly 30 years, becoming president and CEO in 1986, just after its financial crisis. Tagmyer pulled the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and by 1988, Northwest Pipe reported record earnings. Under his leadership, the company grew from $19 million to more than $500 million in revenues.
The well-known Oregon businessman and philanthropist Bill "Tag" Tagmyer died in Boston, two weeks after undergoing surgery for thoracic mesothelioma. He was born on Jan. 31, 1938. A compassionate and fun-loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, Bill lived the family motto: "Work hard, play hard and contribute to society."
Bill was a "steel guy" who began his career with United States Steel in 1961. He worked for the Gunderson Division of FMC Corporation from 1969-75, and for L.B. Foster and its subsidiaries from 1975-85. He then joined Northwest Pipe Company, where he was president and CEO from 1985 to 2000 and board chairman from 1985 to 2012. This past summer, Bill was honored for his "55 years of exceptional service to the steel industry as an entrepreneur, visionary, leader and friend."
A graduate of Santa Clara University, Bill was a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve, in which he rose to the rank of captain. He was an energetic board member for dozens of entities in Portland and California, among them are the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (chairman), the University of Portland, Providence Heart and Vascular Institute, Easter Seals and the Arlington Club. He was also a passionate golfer, serving as president of both the Waverley Country Club in Portland and the Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., as well as the board of the Western Oregon Golf Society. Bill is survived by his wife, Lucy of Lake Oswego; sons, Bill Jr. (wife, Cindy, and children, Lindsay, Kelsey and Whitney) and Steve (wife, Vicki, and children, Michelle and Dawson); daughters, Kris Tuor (husband, Darren, and children, Dalton and Dylan) and Karey Gutierrez '90 (husband, Bernard, and children, Sophie and Ellie); brother, Bob (wife, Sue); and multiple treasured nieces and nephews. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Rita Tagmyer; and sister, Joyce Suess.
He was active with many charities, including one that sends poor golf caddies to college. In addition to the university's board, Tagmyer served on the boards of theOregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute and the Easter Seals Society of Oregon.
submitted Oct. 13, 2013 10:45P