American aviation pioneer who founded The Boeing Company in 1916.
Boeing was born in Detroit, Michigan to Marie M. Ortmann, from Vienna, Austria, and Wilhelm Böing (1846–1890) from Hagen-Hohenlimburg, Germany. Wilhelm Böing emigrated to the United States in 1868 and initially worked as a laborer. He later made a fortune from North Woods timber lands and mineral rights near Lake Superior. In 1890, at age eight, the younger Boeing lost his father to influenza, and his mother soon remarried. He anglicized his name to "William Boeing" and enrolled at Yale University. He left Yale in 1903 before graduating to go into the lumber business.
In 1916, Boeing went into business with George Conrad Westervelt as "B & W" and founded the Pacific Aero Products Co. He bought an old boat works on the Duwamish River near Seattle for his factory.
In 1921, Boeing married Bertha Marie Potter Paschall (1891-1977). She had previously been married to Nathaniel Paschall, a real estate broker with whom she had two sons, Nathaniel "Nat" Paschall Jr. and Cranston Paschall, and these two became Boeing's stepsons. The couple had a son of their own, William E. Boeing Jr. (1922–2015). William Boeing died on September 28, 1956, at the age of 74, just three days before his 75th birthday. He had had a heart attack aboard his yacht in Puget Sound, Washington. His ashes were scattered off the coast of British Columbia.
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