William “Bill” Luntz grew up in a home where giving was considered more important than receiving. That became a strong influence on him, and Bill says, “My father always told me when you derive your livelihood from a community, you have an obligation to give back.” Learning that lesson at a young age shaped Bill’s life in the Stark County community.
Born at Mercy Hospital, and attending Belle Stone Elementary School, Bill is a true native of Canton. His family moved to Cleveland during his youth and after graduating from University School he joined the Army Air Corps, serving in Europe as a Corporal. He met his first wife, Denise Guyot, in France and they were married in 1948.
Shortly after their marriage, Bill left college to join the Luntz Corporation, saying, “Frankly, I wasn’t prepared for anything else.” His story of success and building the corporation would inspire anyone. Bill calls himself a life-long learner and surrounded himself with knowledgeable people from whom he learned. He was VP of Luntz Corp. by the age of 45, and President by age 50. Unfortunately for the family, and our community, Denise died of cancer in 1989.
Always the leader, over the years he lent his vision, leadership, and experience to more than 30 organizations and boards, often as chair or president, including the arts, social agencies, educational efforts, and the religious community. Bill may be the most “decorated” resident of Stark County, receiving countless awards and recognitions which is a testament to the leadership and skills he brought to everything he touched.
One of Bill’s favorite endeavors was Project Wheelbarrow, a program of which he was a founder, and served for many years with his son Greg and daughter Michele. Dedicated to mentoring grade school, middle school, and senior high school students who were at risk, Project Wheelbarrow’s goal was to improve their educational experience. By enhancing their work ethic and improving self-esteem the students were successfully prepared for their future. It was named Project Wheelbarrow because his grandfather started the family business with only a wheelbarrow. A wheelbarrow was the vehicle out of poverty for his family, and Bill believes education is the vehicle and road to success for our youth.
Bill says, “If I can bring a smile to a child’s face, make a lonely senior feel a little less lonely or help make my community a little better; then I know that I have served a good purpose – perhaps even a divine purpose.”
Bill has dedicated his life to his community, which is evidenced by his long-time commitments to Canton Palace Theatre, (he earned their first Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership in saving the theater for generations to enjoy), Arts in Stark, Walsh University, Stark State College, YMCA, The Stark Community Foundation, and United Way of Greater Stark County. He served as the “United Fund” Campaign chair in 1971 and has been a Leader in Giving for countless decades.
Bill has four children, seven grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. Bill is being honored by his wife Sharon, who says, “It has been a joy to support him all these years in his many endeavors. Embodying the word, “mentor,” he is an inspiration to me, his family, and the Canton Community.”