William H. “Bill” Shiner, age 79, of Millbury, MA and Brewster, MA, formerly of Auburn, MA passed away peacefully on Thursday May 7, 2020 at UMass Memorial Medical Center after a short battle with cancer.
He leaves his high school sweetheart and the love of his life Eleanor “Nicki” Shiner after 61 years of marriage. Besides his wife, he leaves three children, Donna M. Londregan and her husband, Stephen of Millbury, MA, Steven M. Shiner and his wife, Kristen of Sutton, MA and Erica L. Mara and her husband, Aidan of Southport, CT; 9 grandchildren, William Londregan (Cassandra) of Grafton, MA, Kalli Dixon (Philip) of Millbury, MA, Jonathan Londregan (Olivia) of Auburn, MA, Emily Delaney (Travis) of Sutton, MA, Steven Shiner Jr. of Cranston, RI, Nicholas Shiner of Sutton, MA and Finn, Harrison and Oliver Mara of Southport, CT; six great grandchildren, Caroline, Thomas and Matthew Dixon, Rowan Londregan, Aubrey Delaney and Jack Londregan, along with a 7th great grandchild due to arrive in October. Bill also leaves a brother, Bernard Shiner Jr. and his wife, Marianne of Newark, VT, sisters-in-law who he loved he loved as his own sisters, Nancy Coleman and her husband Richard of Wakefield, MA, Janice Przygoda and her husband Bradford of Auburn, MA, along with many nieces and nephews.
He was born in Worcester, MA to Bernard and Louise (O’Donnell) Shiner on April 21, 1941 and grew up in Auburn, MA; graduating from Auburn High School in 1959, where he participated in track and field. After high school, with a young family at home, he worked several jobs to put himself through night school at Worcester Junior College. He continued his education at Northeastern University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, as well as a Master’s in Business Administration.
Bill (or Billy), as he was known to his family and friends, started his professional career at American Optical Corporation where he progressed to applications laboratory manager in their Laser Products Group. When AO decided to shut down its Laser Products Group, he and a partner purchased the company’s laser division and co-founded Laser, Inc. in 1972. After successfully growing the business through industrial laser applications in many of the country’s top automobile and aviation companies, they sold Laser Inc. to Coherent Inc. in 1978 and he became vice president of Sales and Marketing. In 1995 Coherent was purchased by Convergent Prima where he served as Chief Operating Officer until 2002 when he moved on to IPG Photonics to help build their industrial laser division. At IPG Photonics he became vice president of Industrial Laser Sales where he had worldwide responsibilities and was instrumental in the company’s climb from $30 million in sales to well over $1 billion during his tenure bringing the company to the top of the industrial laser market. He also played a key role in taking the company public in 2006 when he was part of the road show team that flew around Europe and the U.S. to meet with investors and promote the company prior to its listing on NASDAQ. He semi-retired from IPG Photonics in 2018 staying on in a consulting capacity as SR Advisor to the CEO, Dr. Valentin Gapontsev until fully retiring recently, in February. Throughout his career, he was active in research and academic initiatives. He is credited with several patents in laser-technology dating back to 1969 and as recently as 2015. He was a founding member of the Laser Institute of America serving on its board for over 40 years and as its president in 2007. In 2009 he was recognized with the LIA’s President’s Award for his long-term contributions to the success of the of LIA. A close colleague recently wrote about Bill saying, “The legacy of Bill in the laser industry will go on for years to come. He can be credited as an inventor, a visionary, a group leader, a spokesman and a person that has brought lasers into our everyday life.”
Bill enjoyed tremendous success throughout his career, traveling widely domestically and internationally, ringing the bell at NASDAQ, he even had the opportunity to fly in a F-16 fighter jet and land on an aircraft-carrier. Despite his success, Bill was an incredibly humble man who always treasured his time with his family more than anything. He had a very close relationship with all of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and enjoyed hosting them at home, on the Cape and on the many vacations to Florida, Aruba and other destinations he and Nicki planned for their family. Bill and his wife loved traveling together and spent the past several years exploring destinations around the world while generously sharing their time and good fortune with their family. Bill was an avid reader, he also enjoyed skiing and golf, but he was happiest at the Cape surrounded by his family on the beach, on his boat, or sitting around the fire-pit enjoying laughter and lively conversation with his family and friends.
Those that knew Bill best will fondly remember how he enjoyed every day of his life and brought fun and laughter to everyone around him. He loved joke telling, was a legendary practical joker and a gadget collector. He also enjoyed the companionship of his beloved dog, Beau.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the funeral and burial will be private. Family and friends will be invited to celebrate Bill’s life when we can gather safely. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Bill’s memory to the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org.