William J. Claerbout, who built Dutchland Plastics Corp. in Oostburg, Wis., into a major player in rotational molding, died Sept. 28 in Windermere, Fla., following a lengthy illness. He was 82.
Claerbout backed into rotomolding. A Wisconsin native, he conducted his first auction in 1944 at the age of 19. He became a well-known auctioneer and real estate broker.
On March 17, 1950, he married the former Nancy Dirkse. Their celebration was broadcast on the ABC radio program Bride and Groom.
In 1967, they took over a troubled plastics factory, Heller Industries. They entered rotomolding, and he served as president for 40 years.
Their sons, Carl and Daven Claerbout, bought into the company. They acquired the remaining shares from their parents two years ago.
Carl, president of the firm, said in an August interview with Plastics News that he and his brother have followed his father's principals in business.
``Nobody works for us. Our dad taught us. That was one of our first lessons: `Boys, nobody will ever work for you; they'll work with you. And that's how you'll be successful.' ''
A memorial service will be held Oct. 25 in Oostburg, Carl Claerbout said.