Bill Ziegler, known as "Wild Bill", the owner of a nostalgia shop in Middletown, died at 70 on Tuesday.
His family told NBC Connecticut he died from a heart attack at his Middlefield home. It came as a shock to his family.
“He was a jovial guy, definitely a free spirit. He took after his grandfather who was a clown and a showman. So I think that prompted him to have all the eccentric things that he surrounded himself with,” said Heather Page, Ziegler’s daughter.
Cindy Ziegler was married to Bill for nearly 40 years. She said what’s comforting is that he spent the day leading up to his unexpected death with those he loved.
“Tuesday during the day he came to work, Heather (Ziegler’s daughter) was here with her kids, Berkie (Ziegler’s son) came over with their kids so we had pictures done for the grandchildren, he fed the cows they just had a great day here,” his wife said.
Ziegler leaves behind three children and six grandchildren.
His daughter and son, Heather Page and Berkshire Ziegler, will help run the business that’s been an icon in Middletown since 1996, when Ziegler first opened the store.
“A lot of people have been saying just one meeting and they feel like they’ve known him forever,” said his son, Berkshire Ziegler.
Wild Bill's Nostalgia is described as a place "to celebrate a retro amusement experience for the entire family with an interesting 'twist' to offer affordable fun and memories."
The nostalgia shop features retro collectibles, like show-print posters, antiques, toys, vinyl records, vintage clothing and other knick knacks.
“I’d want him to know how much we love him. And how much we’re going to miss him,” said Cindy. “I think he is looking at everything on Facebook and knowing how much we all cared.”
Friends and customers are invited to a memorial event on April 30, 2017 at Wild Bills Nostalgia, 1003 Newfield St, Middletown, Connecticut 06457