Bill Carteaux, the longtime head of the Plastics Industry Association, died Dec. 10 after a nearly three-year fight with acute myeloid leukemia.
Carteaux, 59, had led the association since 2005, moving to Washington D.C. to assume leadership of the group after a long career in the plastics machinery industry.
Family members confirmed the news in a post Dec. 10 on Carteaux's InvinciBill Bone Marrow Transplant Facebook page.
“This morning about 1:00 [a.m.], surrounded by immediate family, our amazing, vibrant, beautiful Bill passed away peacefully,” they wrote. “He fought as much as he could but this time his spirit and will couldn't beat the leukemia monster that overtook his body.
“He fought so hard until the very end, even agreeing to a ventilator knowing it was a last-ditch effort. To say we are heartbroken, crushed and just devastated is such a grand understatement.”
The family said it would post details of a memorial service later, and said it would likely be in January after the holidays.
Carteaux was first diagnosed with AML in April 2016, and had gone through two previous rounds of treatment that had put the blood cancer in separate rounds of remission. He disclosed in a Nov. 2 social media post that the disease had returned, and that he would start his third round of chemotherapy Nov. 5, under the care of doctors at Virginia Cancer Specialists and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
The family wrote that Carteaux learned about his most recent recurrence of AML on his 59th birthday, started chemo on his late mother's birthday and passed away on his late father's birthday: “The timing of this is not lost on us.”
In a post over the weekend on Facebook, before he passed away, Carteaux's wife Daniele Fresca, the former marketing director of industry software provider IQMS, said that doctors had recently decided to start a new regimen of chemo, and that the cancer was “putting up even more of a heavyweight battle!”
Since his diagnosis, Carteaux had been active with the Washington chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
He chaired the corporate side of the group's fundraising Light the Night Walks for two years and joined the board of the local chapter, one of the country's largest.
The energetic Carteaux had consistently chronicled the role of plastics in helping to treat his cancer, posting pictures of plastic components like Hickman central intravenous lines for administering drugs. His family wrote over the weekend that he would ask questions like which company had made the plastic masks used in his BiPap, or Bilevel Postive Airway Pressure, treatment.
He was also very involved in other industry organizations in Washington, chairing the Council of Manufacturing Associations in 2017. That group is part of the National Association of Manufacturers, and is made up of over 260 industry-specific business associations.
The AML was first detected, in its early stages, after Carteaux contracted dengue fever from a mosquito bite during a plastics industry trip to Cuba in 2016.
He had a long career in the industry before leading the trade association. Immediately prior to assuming the top position at the association, which at the time was called the Society of the Plastics Industry, Carteaux was co-managing director of the Schwaig, Germany-based injection press machinery maker Demag Plastics Group.
Before working at Demag, he had been head of vertical injection press manufacturer Autojectors Inc., from 1991 to 1998.
In a statement, the association named Chief Operating Officer Patty Long as its interim president and CEO and said it would provide further information about a transition.
Chairman Wylie Royce said in the statement that Carteaux “had been fighting with determination and courage.”
“I know you share my sorrow over the loss of this singularly optimistic, passionate and charismatic leader, colleague, friend, husband and father,” Royce said. “Please keep Bill's family, including his wife Daniele and his daughters Whitney and Mallory in your thoughts and prayers.”
The association also invited people to share remembrances at [email protected]