William J. Peel, a longtime publishing executive for plumbing industry magazines, died on October 7 after an extended illness. He was 84 years of age.

Universally known as Bill Peel, his career in the p-h-c-p field spanned four decades. After leaving military service at the end of World War II, Peel’s first publishing job was as an advertising salesman for the New York Daily News. After a few successful years in this position, he joined the advertising sales staff of Plumbing & Heating Business (PHB), then the official organ of the National Association of Master Plumbers.

After the fierce competitiveness of New York’s newspaper market, Bill had no difficulty making a success in his new position. During his tenure PHB enjoyed a substantial increase in advertising market share, especially in Peel’s Eastern sales territory. He made numerous industry friends and established relationships that lasted through his entire business life and in many cases into retirement. He was particularly well-known for “Bill Peel Day,” an annual golf outing always well-attended and thoroughly enjoyed by Peel’s advertisers and prospects.

Midway through his career, Bill was recruited by the owners to serve as publisher of two major industry magazines of the period, Domestic Engineering (DE) and Actual Specifying Engineer. After several years in this position, he initiated the sale of DE to Scott Periodicals and its subsequent merger with Plumbing & Heating Journal. The merged magazine, known as DE/Journal, was an immediate and lasting success. In 1987, it was sold to an international publishing firm for the highest price ever paid to that date for a p-h-c-p publication.

Peel’s wartime service was distinguished. As a member of the Army Air Corps, he flew fighter aircraft escorting U.S. B-17 daylight bombers to targets extending over much of occupied Europe. He had several confirmed kills of enemy aircraft and received multiple awards of both the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He rose to the rank of major before his 24th birthday.

In retirement, Bill was active in Meals on Wheels and the Habitat for Humanity. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Madeline Flood Peel, a son Stephen, and two daughters, Nancy Gladwell and Diana Acosta, and nine grandchildren. A third daughter, Cynthia Bauer, preceded her father in death.

Memorials may be made to Respite Care, Church of Our Saviour, 4416 Bohicket Road, Johns Island, SC 29455.