Obituary: Will Tressler

Tue, 02/07/2012 - 3:50pm

Will Tressler, 80, who was a presence on Block Island for more than 15 years, passed away peacefully on Monday morning, January 2, at his home in Easton, Connecticut.

Will was a resident of Easton for most of his life, where he excelled in industrial and furniture design, form-meets-design residential architecture and historic building restoration. He was also involved in agriculture, nutrition, food and hospitality publishing, and possessed many other skills too numerous to mention. His greatest love was his music, in which he involved his entire family: they made up The Jackson Pike Skifflers. Wife Katie was on the bass, son Dan and brother-in-law Dave played fiddle, and daughter Sally played flute. In recent years his Irish son-in-law, Damien, joined in and played accordion to toe-tapping Irish jigs. They played at such distinguished venues as the White House, Lincoln Center and the Great Hudson River Revival Concerts with Pete Seeger.

Each August for many years, Will and his family hosted their famous “Hootenanny” in the barn on their property. Musicians came from all over the North East to play. Spectators had the opportunity to experience entertainment in the barn along with groups throughout the property that picked and fiddled with each other.

Will originally came to Block Island with the Easton Banjo Society and then brought The Jackson Pike Skifflers. For many years they bestowed their musical talents on the Double Ender July Fourth Parade, and always started the fireworks display off that same weekend with a concert on the beach.

Whenever they came to the island they seemed to bring a raft of their relatives along, including all their instruments and sound equipment. Sometimes as many as 20 people would fill the residences where they stayed. During their early years they stayed with Peter and Sandy Greenman, and then later with Wendell and Donna Corey, always lighting the houses with song, dance, camaraderie and good eats.

When Will was no longer well enough to continue coming to the island, it left quite a hole in the Double Ender celebration. He was a sweet, gracious man and will be missed sorely.

Anyone wanting to send the family condolences may do so at: 146 Bibbons Road, Easton, CT 06612