Tragic News About Our Friend And Fellow Woody Boater Bill Basler. UPDATES IN COMMENT SECTION!

Bill working the CCABC table in FloridaLast night we got news that our long time and original Woody Boater Bill Basler was involved in a horrible car accident on Thursday morning. Bill is at UIHC, with multiple traumatic injuries after he was flown from the crash site.  Bill’s recovery will take months, perhaps longer. That’s all we really know at this time. Our hearts go out to Bill and his amazing family.

Bill on the right and his beautiful family

For those of you that don’t know Bill, you do, you just don’t know it. Bill is the designer who redesigned 7 years ago the Brass Bell magazine, the CCABC logo, and countless others in the hobby, he also brought the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club into the digital age, by building the archive, and the original website.

March Brass bell

He is one of the top designers in the US, and now is the creative leader of a huge web company in Iowa. and on a more personal note, Bill is one of the two folks that helped me start Woody Boater, I spent countless hours on the phone with him on strategy and he gave me the confidence to keep going, when only 3 people were reading.. By the way, those three were Bill, my pal Scott and I.. Bill passionately believes that the web is the future of the culture we all live in, and he gave it his all making it happen.

Bill Basler Chris Smith

Bill on the right with Chris Smith at lake Dora years ago.Note the laptop, that was the first time anything like that had been at the show.

The only good news in all this is that Bill suffers from the same old boat affliction we all have, rebuilding things back the way they were is in his spirit. We here at Woody Boater are sending out varnish covered prayers for you Bill, when you get a chance and read this know that your Woody Boater family is here, and keeping your cause and vision going!

There has been a fund raising site started for Bills medical expenses which will be huge, YOU CAN CLICK HERE FOR INFO


Bill out on one of his vintage Chris Crafts, The “Blue Bomb” has been part of the family for ever!


36 replies
  1. Texx
    Texx says:

    Tragic news today. My sincere best wishes to Bill Basler and his wonderful family during this difficult time. Our thoughts are with you today my friend. – Texx

  2. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    Bill is a great family man and a real woody boater. If you have ever spoken with him, those two things are clear. Bill will be in my thoughts and prayers as well as his family.

  3. Chris Wade
    Chris Wade says:

    Man, that sucks! Best wishes and prayers go out to Bill and his family. VIP in old boat world!

  4. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Bill, I am saddened by this unpleasant news today. We extend our thoughts and prayers to you and your wonderful family. Karen and I pray for a speedy recovery!

  5. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I know I can speak for the entire Michigan Chapter in wishing Bill a rapid recovery, and strength to his family in the process. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  6. Carla
    Carla says:

    Deepest thoughts and prayers to Bill and his beautiful, loving family. Cheers to a speedy recovery and hoping we get to see your face at a boat show in the near future, Bill!

  7. Rick
    Rick says:

    Years ago he was the 1st person to respond to a very newbie question on Boat Buzz. It was clear, concise and non-judgemental. Had no idea at the time who he was but it made me feel welcome to the sculpture.

  8. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Thoughts and prayers for Bill and his family. His expertise in bringing Brass Bell to its current graphic model was a huge leap for our hobby. Stay strong Bill and the Bassler family.

  9. Alex
    Alex says:

    Bill is one of my early acquaintances in classic boating. Way back in 2009, before I’d even heard of WoodyBoater.

    He was hugely instrumental in me buying my 1968 20′ Grand Prix, a model we both love. His great knowledge of this obscure boat validated my initial impressions of the model. The boat has brought me and my family much pleasure ever since.

    In 2011, we collaborated in writing a cool article for the Brass Bell about the 20′ Grand Prix. Here’s a link:

    I wish Bill a thorough recovery, if possible, in time to enjoy this year’s boating season in his beautifully restored Corsair.

  10. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    Tragic! Our thoughts and prayers are with Bill and his family. I knew Bill first as an award-winning graphic designer, having spent most of my career in advertising. He made the Brass Bell one of the most beautiful magazines, period.

  11. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    My thoughts are with Bill and his family. His presence in our boating community has been large. Hoping his recovery is quick and complete.

  12. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Our prayers for a solid, complete recovery are with you Bill, as well as strength and faith for your family in this difficult time. Here’s to many more boat rides in years to come!

  13. Jim Evans
    Jim Evans says:

    I wish Bill a full and speedy recovery. I had the opportunity to work with Bill on a project from here in MI. It was a lot of fun and is the reason I stay close the CCABC.

  14. Terry Fiest
    Terry Fiest says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Bill and his family. So very sorry to get this tragic news. Bill and I spent the better part of 5 years working together with the CCABC. We certainly wish him a speedy recovery.

  15. matt
    matt says:

    Just a quick update from the Basler family.

    Bill had a good, strong day today. His medications were lowered down to get him breathing on his own for a while and that was successful. Though the pain is great – he was also able to communicate to Michelle that “he was too hot.” Also miraculous news. His long surgery (8+ hours) yesterday went well and the surgeon completed some work on his lower arm and his foot.

    This is not going to be a short journey, we are looking at weeks in the hospital and months of rehab. Your support and prayers mean so much. The family is humbled and more appreciative than you can know or imagine.

  16. Roger Martin
    Roger Martin says:

    Bill, Marla and I are hoping for a quick recovery so we can see you out here on the river again. Bless you and your family.

    Roger Martin, Marla Shafer (Dave & Sandy’s neighbors)

  17. matt
    matt says:

    Latest UPDATE! As of 11Am on Tuesday. OUCH! Go Bill Go!
    From Michelle via Facebook
    Well this is day 6 and it’s starting off well. Yesterday they were able to get Bill breathing on his own for a couple of hours which was wonderful news. They switched out the mouth breathing tube for a tracheotomy and that was such a relief to him. Yesterday he was still very frustrated by not being able to communicate but by this morning I am already reading lips better and he has told me all about, “The firemen” and “Two hours”. (He was trapped in the truck for over a hour and apparently remembers that.) He keeps asking, “What happened?” and he draws a spinning motion with his one good hand to show me he knows the truck spun around and around.

    Today is a rest day with surgery on his broken upper left arm and jaw slated for tomorrow. I haven’t really given specifics because the list of his fractures is so long. But so far, his left hip which was completely sheered has been pinned and is “fixed” , the lower left arm has been “fixed” and he’s had the first of many surgeries on the right foot and ankle which lost blood flow and was in jeopardy. That foot has a strong pulse now but will need to be completely rebuilt.

    All of his other injuries are just stabilized and waiting to be addressed when his lungs heal. He has 7 broken ribs on the left, 3 on the right. A bone in his neck is broken but his spinal cord looks good. He also has a bone in his lower spine that is broken but hopefully won’t require surgery. His internal organs are bruised but no catastrophic damage there. This is just a brief list but I know you’ve all been sending so much love our way and I want to update you the best I can. I’ve seen a few little smiles and when I tell him he’s going to win this battle he always nods an absolute, “Yes”!

  18. Caroline-in-the-morning
    Caroline-in-the-morning says:

    Bill –
    Wow… Hardly know where to start…5 weeks ago I broke my ankle in 3 places; I’ve been thinking ‘o poor me’….
    Well, now I have some new perspective! I’m redirecting all of my “get well soon” thoughts to you, and your family.
    Please keep us updated on your progress here on WB.
    Our strongest wishes for your good recovery!
    Caroline & James

  19. Steve Moreau
    Steve Moreau says:

    It’s a shame that it takes such a tragic event to put our problems in prospective, and make me wonder what I would do I or the wife was faced with something like this. Bill and Marla please know that there are folks that have not meet ya’ll yet that are praying for you. As well as looking forward to seeing you guys soon. Please keep us posted.

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