In 2002, Jackson and Lenawee counties became the beneficiaries of Bill and Vi Sigmund's generosity and throughtfulness through the establishment of a private foundation. The Sigmunds understood the value of the foundation concept and the ongoing benefits that it provides within a community.
Bill was born on June 18, 1914, in Naperville, Illinois. After graduating from high school, he attended Northwestern University night school. In 1933, he started employment with Kraft Foods in Chicago where he eventually moved his way up the company ranks to supervise 26 sales branch offices in the Midwest.
From 1943 to 1946, Bill was in the US Army Air Force where he flew C 47’s and gliders in England and France. These activities developed his lifelong passion for flight. He first soloed in 1934 and was an active pilot until 1985.
Bill was forty-three years old and had a successful career with Kraft Foods. After meeting with Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonald’s hamburger chain, Bill and Vi decided to leap into a new career. In 1959, they opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in the Jackson area. Eight additional stores in Jackson, Adrian, Albion and Tecumseh were added through the years.
Vi, also from Naperville, and Bill were married in 1940. She was co-owner/operator of their McDonald’s franchises. She enjoyed traveling with her husband as well as flying her husband’s plane. Although she and her husband never had children of their own, they cared about their young employees and were instrumental in guiding many to appreciate and practice a strong work ethic.
Both Bill and Vi were community minded and involved with a variety of organizations and events. Bill’s many activities included serving as a trustee of the Jackson County Community Foundation and board member of Junior Achievement, Jackson Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Space Center, Midwest Bank and the Boy Scouts of America. Vi actively participated in the Rose Pageant, Lioness Club, Eastern Star and a variety of other charitable organizations. Bill and Vi were married for 62 years. Vi passed away in 2002 and Bill in 2003.