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,
at 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 supervised 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 an Illinois native, 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 very community minded and were
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. Vi participated in the Rose Pageant, Lioness Club, Eastern star along with many other charitable
Bill and Vi
were married for 62 years. Vi passed away in 2002 and Bill in 2003.