Bill Sotis, passed away in his home surrounded by his family on August 27, 2020.
Bill is survived my wife, Lisa (Cocalis); son, Andrew; daughter, Maia; mother, Patti Sotis; brothers, Nick and Jamey; sister, Karen Welch; and relatives in Delaware, Minnesota, Wisconsin and California
The six-pack 60-year-old we all knew and loved was an athlete, entrepreneur, father, husband, brother, and friend. He led a unique and impressive life – one with many phases and places – building impactful relationships every step of the way. His last days were a reflection of his life – displaying next-level grit while radiating love and encouragement, inspiring all of those around him to do the same.
Bill wrestled with leukemia and stomach cancer for two years but refused to act like a patient. He finished a half-Ironman just before his diagnosis. Three weeks before death, he was surfing and hot-air-ballooning in California. The time in between was equally spent on a quest to recovery, while reveling in fruitful relationships formed over many years.
Bill was born in Wilmington, DE, where he spent his early days. During these formative years, his parents, Patti and Nick, raised him and his siblings Nick and Karen while surrounded by extended family. Karen learned early to hold her own against her brothers. Bill and Nick were close and competitive; they built a makeshift neighborhood baseball field, accidentally burnt down the woods behind their house, and made the annual pilgrimage to Wildwood, NJ with their Baci (grandmother) to catch waves, enjoy the boardwalk, and wolf down Mack’s pizza. They would later be each other’s best man.
A cross-country move was in order. Five humans, one dog, and one malfunctioning automobile eventually arrived in Prior Lake when Bill was nine years old. This would be Bill’s life-long home base. He loved Prior Lake and spent his days on the water or on the sports field; he played football and wrestled at Prior Lake High School (’78). His connection with music began when he got his first drum set. The Sotis family’s life changed when the third brother, Jamey, was born. Nick & Bill would serve as Jamey’s bodyguard for many years.
Both Bill and Jamey were somehow accepted to the University of Notre Dame as self-identified “unlikely candidates”. The legend is that Bill was torn between the Air Force Academy and Notre Dame, went to an AF vs. ND football game, and the Irish won 49-0. The decision was made for him. He and his roommates played intramural football and built a bar in their dorm room—a bar whose picture made an appearance in the Class of 1982 yearbook. The friendships he built as a Domer continue to this day.
After a few years in the workforce, Bill went back to school for his MBA at University of Wisconsin - Madison. He met Lisa in a marketing class where she was doing crossword puzzles instead of taking notes; the class was too easy for her. Bill’s friends dared him to sit next to her, the Greek girl. Days after, they were playing racquetball and grabbing a burger at the Nitty Gritty for their first date. He picked her up in a limo at the Atlanta airport two years later and proposed. Bill and Lisa tied the knot at St. Paul’s on UW-Madison’s campus and the whole wedding party tore up State Street after the ceremony. They were happily married for 32 years.
Bill and Lisa both had impressive careers. They worked in Racine, Rockford, and Milwaukee before business took them to England, where Maia and Andrew were born. Their nomadic lifestyle continued – the four Sotises then moved to upstate New York, Atlanta, Sacramento, and Kansas City before settling down in Madison. Bill got into the fitness industry in Madison – aligning his career with his passion as his play became his work. He eventually started his own functional fitness company, Prism Fitness, where he served as President/CEO until the end of his life. Bill’s passion for fitness was evident—he loved running, biking, and cross-country skiing. Every year he looked forward to the Birkiebeiner, water skiing, and attending Notre Dame football games.
The last three days of his life were just what he wanted. A constant stream of friends, family, and phone calls came through to connect with him one last time. He was able to spend time at home surrounded by his brothers and immediate family, even enjoying an impromptu “beach party” in the front yard on his final day. His family is comforted knowing Bill is in heaven and no longer feels any pain or discomfort.
A limited funeral service will be held at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Madison, WI on Monday, September 7. Bill's wish was also to have a memorial service at his boyhood church, St. Michael’s in Prior Lake which will be planned for in the coming weeks. A larger party to celebrate his life will be thrown once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. We look forward to seeing you when that day comes. The driven, smart, funny, stubborn, and devoted man we knew would want you to go for a run or bike ride on a sunny day in his memory.