on October 26, 2013 - 9:10 PM
Aug. 15, 1930 – Oct. 25, 2013
William Haeseler III, a travel agent who led tours for three decades and visited more than 150 countries, died Friday in Buffalo General Medical Center after an illness that lasted about a month. He was 83.
The Amherst resident, known as “Buck” to his friends, was born in North Tonawanda. He attended both South Kent Boarding School in Connecticut and North Tonawanda High School, graduating from the latter. He majored in English and history at Valparaiso University and earned a master’s degree in public relations from Boston University.
Mr. Haeseler joined and eventually ran his father’s business, Certified Finance in North Tonawanda. But in 1961, he followed his passion for history, geography and travel by beginning to lead Buffalo-area tour groups all over the world. At first it was a hobby, but he soon turned it into a business – Certified Travel – which he ran for 30 years.
He and his wife, the former Gloria Barth, led tours to remote destinations such as Antarctica, Easter Island, New Guinea and Timbuktu. His favorite destination was Switzerland, where he climbed the Matterhorn in 1970. He wrote about his travel experiences in his book, “My Whole Life Was a Vacation,” published in 2002.
Mr. Haeseler also wrote a weekly column, “Globe Trotting,” for more than 20 years, first in the Courier-Express and later in the Bee Newspapers. He appeared regularly in the Fairchild lecture series at the Buffalo Museum of Science and on “AM Buffalo” on WKBW-TV.
In 1991, Mr. Haeseler won the National Geographic geography contest and its prize – around-the-world vacations for him and his wife. In 1995, he was named Travel Agent of the Year by the American Society of Travel Agents.
He was a president of the Rotary Club of the Tonawandas, and served as an elder in his church, St. Matthew Lutheran in North Tonawanda.
Besides his wife, survivors include a son, Mark; three daughters, Karen Bebart, Susan and Dr. Lisa; and a sister, Audrey Velepec.
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in St. Matthew Church, 875 Eggert Drive, North Tonawanda.